Dr. Osei Tufuor, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Cape Coast, has said transparency and accountability must be strengthened to enable the country?s decentralization process to work.

JournalistsTransparency and accountability are key principles for improving local democratic governance, he said.

Dr. Tufuor was speaking at a training and capacity building workshop on Transparency and Accountability in Decentralization for journalists and representatives of some selected Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civic Society Organizations (CSO) at Takoradi.

The workshop was organized by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Dr. Tufuor said the existence of transparency and accountability at the local level helped to improve the quality of service delivery and resource allocation.

?In this regard, transparency and accountability restrain political leadership and public administration from corruption and fraud in different dimensions,? he said.

Dr. Tufuor said institutional provisions such as elections and auditing ensured that power holders were held accountable but in the context of local government, promoting accountability went beyond elections and auditing.

?Citizens require a participatory approach that provides a platform to express their interests and preferences, taking part in decisions relating to resource allocation and service delivery, and making sure the government is responsive to their needs and priorities,? he said.

Dr. Tufuor said a government that was not transparent was more prone to corruption and undue influence because there would be no public oversight of decision making.

Mr. Edmond Ampratwum, a researcher at CDD Ghana, said there was the need for people to demand accountability and transparency of public resources.

He said there existed laws to ensure accountability and transparency in local governance, and the responsibility rested on the people to assist to enforce such Laws.

Mr. Ampratwum said there was low contact between citizens and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and that must be reversed to enable citizens to actively participate in local governance.

Mrs Beauty Emefa Narteh, Communication Officer, GACC, said the coalition had established Local Accountability Networks in about 24 districts in the Northern, Central, Volta, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Western Regions.

She said the networks monitored physical projects and budgets of the district assemblies to ensure transparency in local governance.



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