Enhancing the linkage between the District Assembly and Sub-District structures in development planning processes: a case study of Atwima Nwabiagya District, Ashanti Region Ghana

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Ghana’s decentralization policy came into effect in 1988 and since then District Assemblies have been responsible for facilitating locally-based development. In order to bolster locally-based development, the government has promoted participation in decision-making through the enactment of LI I 589 of 1994 which provide for the establishment of the sub-district structures. Further, efforts have been made especially through the provision of district planning guidelines which stipulate the planning processes with premium being put on the involvement of sub-district structures in the process. These appreciable efforts notwithstanding, implementation of the planning process consistent with the decentralization policy is still a problem necessitating investigation. There was evidence that District Assemblies have endeavoured to promote the linkages with the sub-district structures in diverse ways. The study is concerned about how this process has been promoted so far and its accompanying obstacles. Hence the big question to be answered was to what extent area councils were involved in planning and management of development projects in the district. The broad objective of the study was to examine the linkages between the District Assembly and area councils in development planning processes. Purposive selection technique was used in choosing the study district as well as the area councils. A combination of data collection tools was applied including questionnaires, focus group discussion, interview guides and observation. Primary data were collected at three levels. These were area council, district and regional levels. Relevant literature on development planning processes in the study district, on Ghana and other decentralized countries were reviewed. The findings of this study have shown that overall, there exists a weak linkage between the District Assembly and area councils in development planning processes. This implies that decision-making process is dominated by the District Assemblies with minimal inputs from area councils. The findings have also demonstrated that linkages between the District Assembly and area councils are hampered by a number of identified constraints such as inadequate skills and revenue at area councils and failure to operationalize the District Planning Coordination Unit. Accordingly, major recommendations of the study are that: there is the need for (I) upgrading area councils in terms of skills and finances (ii) improving the coordination between the District Assembly and area councils (iii) strengthening the project monitoring role of area councils as well as (iv) promoting model District Planning Coordination Units in every region. It is hoped that the District Assembly in liaison with other relevant stakeholders will implement the recommendations of this thesis report to promote vertical-oriented linkages between the District Assembly and area councils in planning process. Utilization of inputs from sub-district structures in decision-making processes at District Assembly will create room and motivate the area councils to fully participate in the bottom-up planning processes envisioned in Ghana’s decentralization policy. This dynamism enhances effective plan implementation, monitoring & evaluation, achievement of balanced district development and improved resource management and mobilization in the district.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial ftllfillrnent of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 2005