An investigation into the effects of Ghanaian decentralized development planning system in the provision of Health and educational infrastructure: The case of the New Juaben Municipality.

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Inadequate socio economic infrastructure is arguably Africa’s most daunting challenge. Decentralization has been advocated by development partners, development agencies and developing nations as an important mechanism for broadening citizen participation and improving local governance, thereby enhancing provision of socio- economic infrastructure to facilitate poverty reduction. Decentralized development planning system is one of the strategies being pursued in Ghana to drive home the objectives of decentralization policy. One of the major objectives of decentralization is to establish efficient political, planning and administrative institutions at the district level, which would enhance grassroots participation and facilitate the mobilization of support and resources for district development (Botchie, 2000). However, though the District Assemblies have pivotal role to play in the decentralized planning system, they are constrained by low institutional, human and financial resource capacity as well as low cooperation among stakeholders for development planning (Kroes, 1997). After more than two decades into the implementation of the decentralized planning system, health and education infrastructure are still woefully inadequate in most districts in Ghana. On the basis of the above, the study was conducted in New Juaben Municipality to find out the effects of the implementation of the decentralized planning system in the provision of health and educational infrastructure. The research procedure adopted two levels of data collection, namely the municipal and community levels by using both qualitative and quantitative methods for analysis. The case study approach was identified as the appropriate methodology for the research. Specifically, review of secondary data, structured and semi- structure interviews and community meetings were conducted to collect required data for analysis. The result from the study established that there is relatively high calibre of staff at the Municipal Planning Coordinating Unit (MPCU). It also emerged that there is low community participation in the development planning and provision of health and educational infrastructure. In addition the Municipal Assembly does not have adequate financial resources and fiscal autonomy to perform its functions regarding provision of socio economic infrastructure. Furthermore most of the sub- structures put in place to serve as transmission mechanism for development and participate in the decision-making affecting their livelihood were not functioning therefore hindering effective development planning process and infrastructure provision at the local level. Hence, the following recommendations are made: strengthen community participation in the provision of basic infrastructure, operationalize the sub- structures, enhance development planning process at the local level and enhance the capacity of the Assembly in the provision of health and educational infrastructure. The study concludes that the provision of health and education infrastructure at the local level should be fully decentralized at the district level, the local revenue generation should be improved, and there should be a political commitment for full operationalization of the sub-structures and implementation of the district medium term development plans.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.