Mr Anthony K.K. Sam, the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Chief Executive, says building trust in regional and public administration is indispensable in achieving participatory governance.
This, he said, seeks to integrate the needs of the governed in projects that translate into holistic development.
He said providing the instruments to improve transparency, good governance and citizen participation is a vital strategy to foster open governance that allows for sustainable development.
The MCE was speaking during the official launch of the Co-creation process of the 2018-2020 Open Government Partnership Local Action Plan which enjoins civil society organizations’ and state actors to work together to affirm the various commitments to be agreed upon in the areas of service delivery, participation and accountability among others.
In the Metropolis, Berea Social Foundation, STMA-Citywide Upgrading Fund and the Friends of the Nation are working together on the project.
‘Such initiatives open new and better communication channels between governments and citizens, enable local government to have better information and be more accountable to the needs of their citizens”.
“They also present an opportunity for citizens to have the tools and information necessary to play a more active role in building their own development’.
He said the selection of the STMA as a member of the OGP came with political, economic and social benefits for the Metropolis and the country at large adding ‘these benefits correspond with government agenda of democracy and development’.
It also presents Ghana to the international community as a country committed to shine in the tenets of democracy-open and transparent governance.
The MCE said the government had taken steps to be more accountable to the governed through the town hall meetings, meet-the-press series to disseminate government policies and programmes and also render account as well as solicit for feedback.
‘I am happy to inform you that with support from the OGP Multi Donor Trust Fund through the World Bank, STMA together with some NGOs would assist the STMA in co-creating a new action plan that is more transformative and responsive to citizens’ needs and aspirations’, he added.
Mr Donkris Mevuta, the Executive Director of Friends of the nation and lead Consultant on the OGP in the STMA, said empowering citizens to play an effective role in the governance process was the way to strengthen democratic gains.
‘We indeed have to be citizens and not spectators…engaging effectively in the governance process for resilient societies’.
Mr Isaac Aidoo, the STMA Focal Person on the OGP, gave an overview of the OGP partnership and STMAs’ participation and Review of the 2017 OGP sub-National Action plan of the STMA.
He said last year, the commitment areas were: public service delivery: security and sanitation fiscal transparency and public participation but the 2018-2020 may have more thematic areas to work with.
He said co-creation process for the new action plan development would end in August 2018 and the implementation commenced in September this year to 2020.
The new action plan would focus on beneficial ownership, open contracting, climate change and the creation of civic space that would be explored.
Mr Aidoo stated that the objectives of the co-creation was to develop participatory OGP Local Action Plan, build on the capacity of existing OGP multi-stakeholder forum on social accountability, increase awareness and chart a new pathway for project sustainability.
Various activities would also be undertaken to increase awareness on issues relating to the OGP, to whip up citizens interest in the local action plan to generate feedback on the expectation from citizens to formulate commitments in the Local Action Plan.
By Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA