Strengthening institutional linkages to promote decentralized integrated district development - case study of Nkoranza District

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One of the most important aims of the PNDCs administrative reforms of 1988 which is embodied in the Local Government Law 1988 (PNDC Law 207) was to decentralize and integrate the development planning process at the District level. It was to create autonomous units which were to be integrated at that level to promote integrated development. In order to give meaning to this integration, the Local Government Law 1988 (PNDC Law 207) decentralized twenty-two departments at the district level whose budgets were to be prepared, administered, and controlled by the district Assembly and who were to operate as staff of the district Assemblies. In spite of this legislation, evidence gathered from the Nkoranza District suggested that district level institutions remain Verticality linked to their parent ministries at the regional level and in Accra while integration at the District level continued to be weak. Taking sample size of ten District institutions, the attempt was made to identify the kind of linkages existing at the District level and its effect on the entire development process arid how this can be addressed. The main technique of data collection was through structured interviews. Results from workshops organized at the District as well as secondary data sources of information were equally utilized. The main findings of the study were that: i. Financial linkage mechanisms such as the integrated budget, which is one of the most effective means of achieving institutional integration was not in operation in the district. 2. District Departments remain tied to their parent ministries through certain vital linkage mechanisms like recruitments, training and transfer of staff, submission of reports well as financial allocation. 3. The rate of participation of District institutions in District Assembly meetings and activities is very low. 4. Informal communication links among the institutions is very weak. 5. There is the lack of a coherent planning procedure as well as methodology at the district level to promote integrated district development. 6. Legal provisions for achieving coordination are either not fully effected or not sufficiently enforced. 7. There is the lack of clear communication channels and clear definition of roles and responsibilities among institutions at the district level. 8. The lack of horizontal coordination at the district level results in duplication of functions and projects, waste of scarce resources and subsequently affects the overall development process. Recommendations to this effect included the following. 1. The use of financial controls like the integrated budget to achieve coordination. 2. The utilization of an integrated plan and certain planning methodologies to promote the integrated planning concept. 3. The upgrading of the District Planning Coordinating Unit. 4. The clear definition of roles, responsibilities and clear communication channels.
A Thesis Submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1993