President Nana Akufo-Addo has advised the 199 approved Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs)to avoid conflicts with sitting Members of Parliament, as this frustrates the work of government.
He said, “a lot of the tension that arises in the districts and frustrates the work of government comes from the at times fractious relationship between Members of Parliament and Chief Executives. Please avoid such conflicts and let the MPs get their share of the Common Fund timeously.”
Stressing that he cannot and would not want to issue any edicts on anybody’s political ambitions, he noted that “it is enough to point out that many of the tensions between Chief Executives and MPs also start when Chief Executives want to run for Parliament.”
He continued, “I mention it as something worth keeping in mind as a possibility of the source of trouble. And also, do not overlook one important historical fact. The misfortunes of the ruling parties in the general elections of 2000, 2008 and 2016 had a lot to do with the collapse in relations between Chief Executives and MPs of the then ruling parties.”
To this end, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “the new paradigm of effective governance demands maximum co-operation between Chief Executive, MPs and the new kids on the block, the officials of the Development Authorities. The closer and more sincere will be the co-operation, the greater and more extensive will be the development.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, when he addressed an orientation programme organised for the 199 approved MMDCEs by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Government, at the Institute of Local Government Services, at Ogbojo.
The President reminded the MMDCEs that whereas the Minister for Local Government, Hajia Alima Mahama MP, has oversight responsibility for decentralisation implementation and local government, Regional Ministers are also required to monitor and evaluate your performance and submit periodic reports to him.
“I expect you to accord Regional Ministers all their due respect, as they are the President’s representatives in the Regions,” he added.
The President also reminded the MMDCEs of the “new layer of accountability within government – the new Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation.”
This Ministry, he told the MMDCEs, has a broad remit to oversee what is going on in the entire government machinery, and make recommendations to the President on its improvement.
Use Common Fund Judiciously
With a lot of funds soon to flow into the districts, President Akufo-Addo assured that every attempt will be made to get the Common Fund allocations to the Chief Executives regularly and on time.
He, however, urged the Chief Executives to work on their internally generated funds, as they will not make the progress they should if the development programmes of their localities are solely dependent on the relatively meagre sums they get from the Common Fund allocation.
“Please apply your DACF judiciously towards the execution of planned and approved projects. It is not for recurrent expenditure. It is not for recurrent expenditure and should not be misused or abused.
“It is a good idea quickly to get your Assemblies to restructure your financial operational system and targets, to take advantage of the new initiatives introduced by the government to promote accelerated economic growth,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also urged the MMDCEs to help build the capacity of unit and zonal councils of the MMDAs, and also allocate resources to allow them to play their proper roles in the local governance system.
“I do not intend to start any new controversy, but I will say this: we need to take a closer look at the unit committees and zonal councils especially, and see how effective they can be. If we need to do some radical realignment of the structures, we should not be afraid to do so.
“This would be a good time to take a close look at the things that work and those that do not, and not carry a lot of baggage simply because they are on the books,” he added.
The President also urged the Chief Executives, as chairs of their respective Security Committees, “to ensure peace and law and order in your districts. All our plans will only work if there is peace. I advise you to be careful and tactful in managing issues of intelligence and security.”