Parliament has by resolution, adopted the motion on the Report of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development and ratified the African Union Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development.
The Charter among its objectives seeks to promote, protect and act as a catalyst for decentralisation, local governance and local development in Africa and champion local governance and local democracy as one of the cornerstones of decentralization in Africa.
It also seeks to promote resource mobilisation and local economic development with the view to eradicating poverty in Africa and promote a shared understanding and a common vision of Member States on the core values, principles and matters relating to decentralisation, local governance and local development.
The Charter similarly intends to guide policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation at the continental, regional, state and sub-national levels to encourage effective coordination, harmonisation and knowledge sharing within the Member States and among regional economic communities.
The Assembly of Heads of States and Governments at its Twenty-Third Ordinary Session held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in 2014 adopted the Charter in line with the AU Executive Council’s Decision in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Developing an African Charter on the Value, Principles and Standards of Decentralisation of Local Governance on 28th January 2012.
The Deputy Minister of Local Government ad Rural Development Hon. Osei Bonsu Amoah presented the Charter to Parliament on 11th June 2020 on behalf of the sector Minister Hon. Hajia Alima Mahama pursuant to Article 75(2) of the 1992 Constitution and it was subsequently referred to the Committee of Local Government and Rural Development by the Rt. Hon. Speaker for consideration and report.
Chairman of the Committee Kennedy Agyapong moving the motion for the adoption of the Report on Monday, August 10 explained that the Charter covers three thematic areas namely decentralisation, local governance and development and encapsulates principles of fundamental values of community participation and inclusivity, solidarity, civic responsibility, transparency and accountability.
He said the Charter is in line with the strategic goals and objectives of the country for the facilitation of social integration and inclusiveness, consistent with the provisions of the Constitution including the Directive Principles of State Policy and Decentralisation and Local Government, and will make the decentralisation process more vibrant to project Ghana as a champion of decentralisation and local governance in Africa.
The Committee in its Report observed that since the institutional framework for decentralisation and local governance already exist in Ghana, the country would not incur any additional cost promoting these values as provided under the Charter when ratified because the existing structures under the Local Government Decentralisation exist to promote the values.
The Report further observed that these institutions are already funded as part of the annual budget to implement activities on decentralised political and administrative planning, fiscal decentralisation, local economic development and popular participation which are similar to those in the African Charter and would therefore not require a separate budget to implement.
The Committee, therefore, recommended to the House to ratify the Charter in accordance with Article 75(2) of the 1992 Constitution for the fact that there are no burdensome financial commitments on the part of Ghana in respect of accession to the Charter considering the similarities between its Values and Principles Ghana’s legal framework on decentralisation.