Plan implementation management: assessing the performance of District Assemblies in Ghana

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Development planning at the district level is one of the key tenets of the decentralisation policy being pursued by the government of Ghana. It is believed that the shift in plan paradigm in the country from centralised to decentralised planning will be the surest way of bringing governance to the door step of the bulk of the people in Ghana and accelerate development by raising their standard of living. For this policy to succeed government has enacted legislation to empower the DAs and has also directed fiscal and manpower resources to the DAs to make the policy a reality. However, sector departments such as, Ministries of Food and Agriculture, and Health still implement plans and programmes which are handed to them by their respective ministries at the Headquarters through their regional offices. There is, however, a striking difference in their achievement rate of plan targets. The sector departments seem to succeed whilst the DA plans and programmes are in total disarray. The aim of the research was to examine and analyse the seeming success of the sector departments and to explore ways to reinvigorate the DAs and the other institutions to perform their assigned roles to bring development to the areas under their jurisdiction. The research examined indicators such as management of resources; fiscal, manpower and equipment of the DA, MOH and MOFA. Institutional arrangement in the areas of organising, controlling, co-ordinating and motivational issues were also examined. The study was an institutional survey but inputs from respondents in the institutions were collected to confirm or negate the observations and data collected from the field. The research revealed that the DA is weak in resource management co-ordinating, organising, controlling and motivating. This puts the DA at a disadvantaged position in the implementation of plans and programmes. However the sector departments — MOH and MOFA were successful in the implementations of their programmes. The research recommended the need to enforce control mechanisms to ensure proper use of resources. To ensure effective plan implementation it is also essential that plan performance should be properly monitored at all levels. This calls for well defined institutional network and procedures to ensure that all agencies institutions keep their programmes on track. The need to slim down and simplify goals of DAs was also recommended. This is against the background of the fact that DAs do not have the institutional capacity in some areas and end up making less impact. The research identified that there are two planning models or approaches in the DA; the decentralised integrated bottom up planning in the DA itself, and the sector (top bottom) planning model used by the line agencies. The two have varying rate of success in plan implementation which is as a result of differential institutional problems militating against their performance. The research established that performance rate of DA in terms of target achievement using resource management and variables like organising, controlling, co-ordination was poor whilst that of MOH and MOFA was satisfactory.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning, 2001