SEND-Ghana has re-echoed its call for the involvement of citizens in the planning and budgeting processes of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.
This, SEND-Ghana believes would increase citizens’ awareness on the budget and its importance and, demystify citizens’ view of the budget as a technical tool meant only for government technocrats and politicians.
Mr Mohammed Tajudeen Abdulai, a Field Officer of SEND-Ghana at a budget sensitisation meeting at Kperisi community in the Wa Municipality said citizens’ participation in the budget formulation and implementation still remained very weak in spite of the numerous budget reforms in the country.
He said this was against the backdrop that numerous mechanisms had been put in place to ensure public participation in the budgeting process.
“A well informed citizenry would have increased interest in how the budget impacted their lives and could therefore be counted on to track budget implementation and to demand transparency and accountability in its utilisation”, he said.
Mr Abdulai said it was based on this that SEND-Ghana initiated the project “Making the Budget Work for Ghana” funded by the World Bank under its Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) initiative.
The four-year project (2015-2018) was being implemented in 30 districts comprising nine in the Northern and seven each in the Upper East, Upper West and the Greater Accra Regions.
Wa Municipal, Wa East, Wa West, Jirapa, Lambussie, Sissala East and Sissala West Districts are the project beneficiary districts in the Upper West Region.
The SEND-Ghana Field Officer noted that the project sought to address current governance challenges that affected the effective delivery of basic education and health services in poor areas in Ghana.
Mr. Julius Dabuo, the Wa Municipal Budget Officer who took the participants through budget preparations said every project captured on the budget came from the beneficiary communities themselves through their own action plans submitted to the Assembly.
He said community members’ participation in drawing the Action plans could be described as low and urged them to take interest in drawing their own action plans.
Mr. Dabuo said under health, the 2017 budget of the Assembly would provide additional Community-Based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds and upgrade some clinics in various communities.
Under education, the Wa Municipal Budget Officer disclosed that electricity would be extended to schools within the Municipality that still lacked electricity; adding that it would also construct four-Number, three-Unit classroom blocks; provide furniture to all schools facing the furniture challenge and provide support to brilliant but needy students.
Mr. Yakubu Mohammed, Chairman of Kperisi Parents Teacher Association appealed to the Assembly to renovate the community’s Junior High School (JHS) classroom blocks which according to him was now a death trap.
The budget sensitisation meeting was attended by Kperisi Dressmakers Association, Persons with Disability (PWDs), farmers, women groups, chief and opinion leaders and the Municipal Health and Education Directorates.