The Programmes Manager of DRAC, Mr Aberinga Milton, facilitating the fourth session of the SPEFA groups forum in Bolgatanga
The Programmes Manager of DRAC, Mr Aberinga Milton, facilitating the fourth session of the SPEFA groups forum in Bolgatanga

The Social Public Accountability and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) Groups in the Bolgatanga Municipal of the Upper East Region , have been urged to form stronger coalitions to enable them engage the Municipal Assembly effectively in demanding accountability and responsiveness from the duty bearers .

  The Programmes Manager of DRAC,   Mr Aberinga Milton, facilitating the fourth session of the SPEFA groups  forum in Bolgatanga

The Programmes Manager of DRAC, Mr Aberinga Milton, facilitating the fourth session of the SPEFA groups forum in Bolgatanga
The Social Public Accountability and Financial Accountability is an initiative of the Government of Ghana and supported by the World Bank, aimed at building the capacities of citizens’ groups in the Bolgatanga Municipality to participate effectively in the Public Financial Management issues (PFM) and the improvement of public sector physical development performance .

Since 2015, the Netherlands Development Organization ( SNV )- Ghana as the Local Capacity Builder ( LCB), under the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP) has provided support to Development Research Centre (DRAC), a Non-Governmental Organization in the Upper East Region to implement many SPEFA activities in the Bolgatanga Municipality.

There are currently twenty-three interests groups represented by one hundred and twenty persons on a learning platform called the SPEFA Groups whose capacity had been built in the area of demanding Social Accountability from duty bearers from the Assembly.

The Programmes Manager of DRAC, Mr Aberinga Milton, who made the call during the fourth SPEFA capacity building forum held in Bolgataanga, on the theme” The Role of Citizens in Social Accountability”, told the SPEFA groups that it was only through formidable coalitions that they could make a greater impact in holding the duty bearers to account properly for their stewardship.

He explained that the third forum, which was organised earlier on was used to educate the media on their role in social accountability and noted that this time round the organizers thought it appropriate to build the capacity of the SPEFA groups to effectively engage the Municipal Assembly on their own.

“Therefore the objectives of this session seeks to among other things equip the participants with the needed tools and skills for building stronger coalitions to engage the Municipal Assembly effectively. This is timely and appropriate since the project is exiting soon and there is the need to continue SPEFA activities”, Mr Aberinga stressed.

He stated that the fourth forum would equip the participants on why civil societies must be organized for Social Accountability and how civil society has to prepare for engagements with with duty-bearers for enhanced Social Accountability, acquire communication skills for enhancing Social Accountability and understand and appreciate the factors that can inhibit Civil Society organizations in their operations.

Mr Aberinga stated that since the implementation of the project in the Municipality, a lot of success had been chalked and mentioned that it had contributed to an increase in citizens’ awareness and understanding of Local government public financial management , especially in relation to budget formulation and development planning

“The project has contributed immensely to an increase in women’s’ participation in the local governance issues. Female Participation has increased considerably and consistently; from 35% in 2014 in the first quarter to 39% in the second quarter SPEFA forum same year. In 2015, the number increased to 45% and 55% in the first and second quarters respectively”, he indicated.

He added that SPEFA had consistently enabled and sustained the interest of the disability community in the affairs of local government and indicated that since 2014, the number of persons with disabilities who attend SPEFA forums trainings and meetings had increased consistently.

In all about 131 members made of 71 males and 60 females from the various SPEFA groups consisting of Youth groups, PWDs, GHABA, Chiefs and Queen mothers, beauticians , hairdressers, driver union, students traders, among others attended the forum and pledged to form stronger coalitions to press home their demands.

The Municipal Budget Officer, Gbeduruna Mustapha B Adam, in responding to complaints about heaped waste at certain points in the town which were not disposed of, he asked the citizens to report such cases to the assembly for the appropriate actions to be taken.

The Public Relations Officer of the Bolgatanga Municipality, Mr Eugene Dong –Purye, who doubles as the chairman of the Public Complaint Committee (PCC) of the Assembly, announced that the Assembly had opened PCC formally, to help address concerns of citizens and Civil Society Organizations and called on them not hesitate to report issues of concern to the PCC for redress.

By Samuel Akapule

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