An Appraisal of the Capacity of the Asante Akim South District Assembly in Managing Plan Implementation

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' 'It is hard enough to design public policies and programmes that look good on paper. It is harder still to formulate them in words and slogans that resonate pleasingly in the ears of political leaders and the constituencies to which they are responsive. And it is excruciatingly hard to implement them in a way that pleases anyone at all, including the supposed beneficiaries or clients" (Eugene Bardach, cited in Goel 2003). The above quotation illustrates and succinctly portrays the intricacies involved in the formulation and implementation of policies and by extension development plans. As Geol (2003) has remarked, it is usually at the implementation level that difficulties creep in resulting into lower output. Ghana's experience with development plans dates back to the Guggisberg's rule in the colonial era when the Ten Year Development Plan was prepared as a blueprint for accelerated national development. Subsequently, development plans have virtually become synonymous with every regime. However, the level of socio-economic transformation attained so far seems incongruous in a nation which has had many development plans. The problem has always been the inability to fully implement the plans at the national level in a centralised administrative structure. The dawn of decentralisation and local government system was thus expected to « enhance the implementation of developments plans because of the relatively smaller nature of the administrative units (districts) and their propinquity to the grassroots. As has emerged, however, plan implementation at the district level is also saddled with a number of challenges as plans are rarely implemented in full. Key among these challenges is the capacity of the District Assemblies (DAs). The foregoing thus spurred this study to appraise the capacity of the Asante Akim South District Assembly (AASDA) in managing the implementation of its Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs). On the whole, the goal of the study was to identify hindrances to plan implementation pervasive in the AASDA and propose suitable recommendations. The study used the case study approach to appraise the capacity of the AASDA in six main areas, namely: human, logistics and equipment, financial resources, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity, collaboration with decentralised departments and leadership. Summarised overleaf are some of the major findings from the study: • Inadequate Staff Strength, Competencies and Qualifications • Inadequate Logistics and Equipment, and Poor Maintenance Culture • Inadequacy, Over-dependence on DACF and Instability in Revenue • Poorly Resourced and Non-Functional District Sub-Structures In response to the findings from the study, recommendations were made. Some of the recommendations are, human resource development, re-tooling logistics and equipment capacity of AASDA, improving resources mobilisation capacity, operationalise District Sub-Structures (Town/Area Councils), strengthening DPCU and monitoring and evaluation activities, and enhancing coordination between DA and decentralised departments. It is the hope and expectation that the holistic implementation of the recommendations made would improve the existing capacity of the AASDA to effectively manage the implementation of its MTDPs.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, 2008