Improving Citizens’ Participation in Local Government Planning and Financial Management in Ghana: A Stakeholder Analysis of the Sefwi Wiawso Municipal Assembly
Ghana‘s decentralization concept was initiated to promote popular grassroots participation in the management and administration of local governance institutions for improved conditions of life. This is believed to be an important means to improving the effectiveness of service delivery and empower the local people to participate in the development processes that affect their lives. Despite this important role of local communities and stakeholders in the local governance processes, their involvement in decision making on planning, budgeting and financial management of local government agencies is only marginal. This low level of participation is one of the most structural challenges confronting Ghana‘s decentralisation process and local government financial management. Using Stakeholder Analysis, this paper examines the role and level of participation of stakeholders in planning, budgeting and financial management of the Sefwi Wiawso Municipal Assembly. The results of the study indicate that, there has been very little space for local participation and that most of the stakeholders lack proper understanding of the planning, budgeting and the financial management systems of the district assemblies. This lack of space for stakeholder participation has constrained the promotion of effective, responsive and responsible government at the local level for poverty reduction. Procedures and structures for community engagement in the monitoring and evaluation of development interventions seldom exist. The paper argues that an effective engagement of local communities and other stakeholders will enhance transparency and improve upon service delivery within the local government systems. A conscious effort to build capacities and create space for local engagement will enhance the efforts of decentralisation and fast track poverty reduction and national development in Ghana
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