THE Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is almost ready with the preparation of a new urban policy to guide the development of the country’s urban areas.
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the sector minister, who made this known in Kumasi at a day’s workshop on the new decentralisation policy in Kumasi, said ongoing works included urban transport initiative, the urban poverty reduction project and the urban-land management information system.
The workshop was organised by the Centre for Settlement Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Institute of Local Government Studies.
It was on the theme, “ Accelerating National development Through Decentralisation and Good Local Governance.”
Mr Chireh stated that the ministry and its partners had also embarked on social accountability initiatives in the Ghana School Feeding Programme.
He stated that research must be demystified in the local government sector.
He expressed concern over how the word ‘research’ had become a monster in the local government sector and noted that demystifying it would help position local governance as a legitimate vehicle for sustainable development.
Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies, as part of their functions are required to conduct socio-economic studies to enable them to have the relevant data to operate with. This requires deep interest in research.
However, these studies are not forthcoming due to the myth surrounding research in the assemblies.
Mr Chireh said local government functionaries must be assisted to be stronger and more confident in research.
The minister, therefore challenged the various assemblies to take keen interest in research.
He also called for the creation of a learning culture in the public service.
“And this orientation must be developed in the local government sector.
“There is an urgent need to learn from the experiences, solution to problems and best practices in the country as well as from international sources,” he said.
The minister noted that for a very long time, the local government aspect of public administration was not extensively studied or published about.
“This may be the reason why for most periods in the past, there was little published about local government until the assembly system became part of the Constitution.”
Mr Chireh called for the projection of local governance as a viable channel for empowering people and delivering effective development.
The Provost of the College of Architecture of KNUST, Prof. Edward Badu, was confident that the recent affiliation of the Institute of Local Government Studies to KNUST would open the way for more joint fruitful initiatives from the two institutions.