Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM), a five-year project initiated in Ghana in 2014 to assist in creating opportunities to enhance citizens’ participation in local government project management in the communities, is making steady progress.

Mr Clement Tandoh, the Chief of Party of GSAM said the USAID-funded project seeking to strengthen citizens’ oversight of capital projects to improve local government transparency, accountability and performance in 100 districts of Ghana, has been able to show a strong performance in that area since its inception.

“Through durbars and town hall meetings, over 100,000 citizens had been given the opportunity to interact with their respective Assemblies to demand accountability and improvement in the planning and implementation of infrastructure development”, Mr Tandoh said.

He was speaking at a stakeholder engagement event organized for its key partners including Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), the MMDAs, the media and others in Kumasi.

The GSAM Chief of Party said up to about 50 out of the 100 districts had already had their turns to discuss with their local authorities the findings of performance audits that were conducted by the Ghana Audit Service (GAS), in their districts and how to address the weaknesses exposed by the audits.

“Not only did the performance audit tackle finances but also examined how assemblies selected projects into their medium term development plan – planning, budgeting, procuring of contractors, supervision, monitoring and reporting on the progress of the work by stakeholders.

By so doing, 56 percent of the projects monitored and evaluated between 2015 and 2016 in 50 districts were completed on time and of appreciable quality, he added.

The Chief of Party also said the project had so far also supported CSOs to hold over 150 discussions on radio in the 100 districts on the audit findings and the results of citizens’ assessment of projects in their communities.

In the course of the project, billboards in 50 districts had been mounted, showcasing citizens’ assessment of the implementation of the infrastructures in their communities and assemblies to make the information available to the citizens.

Radio jingles in English as well as 19 local languages to inform and educate the citizens about the findings on performance had also been aired on 65 radio stations.

Expected to end in 2019, the Project receiving funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by CARE International, Oxfam in Ghana (formerly IBIS) and ISODEC, together with the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) and 27 other CSOs.

MMDAs of beneficiary Districts attending the event commended the work done by GSAM so far and promised to continue with their part even when the project had elapsed.

Asutifi North, Jaman South, Sunyani West and Asunafo South, are some of the beneficiary Districts.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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