The role of sub-district structures in district development: the case of Yilo Krobo District
In recent years the debate on appropriate strategies for development has been to focus on the local level. It is believed that this is the level close enough to understand the day-today problems of majority of the people who have for some time been relegated to the background in the process of development. To ensure that this strategy of addressing development issues from the bottom works, sub-district structures have been established in Ghana, among them are, the Town/Area Councils and Unit Committees, which constitute the lowest political structures of Government in the country. These Sub-district structures which have been in operation since 1998 have been tasked with the responsibility of promoting the process of development at the grass-root level, towards the over all development of the district under which they fall. They are to mobilise people at the local level to participate in decision making, identify and assist the District Assembly to mobilise resources existing at the local level. In addition they are expected to generate data, prepare local level plans and disseminate information on central government and District Assembly policies and programmes. But vital demographic data, list of rateable properties plan inputs and other information, which should emanate from these sub-structures for the preparation of district Development plans, programmes and budgets, are not readily available at the District Assembly. The study therefore, looked at how far the Town/Area Councils and Unit Committees in the Yilo Krobo District have gone in performing the roles assigned to them, and the difficulties they face in performing or in an attempt to perform these roles. The study was conducted through questionnaire administration, interview schedules to obtain information from various Town/Area Council members, Assembly members, Unit Committees conveners, Chiefs, Households, in four out of the seven Town/Area Councils and twenty-eight out of the Ninety-two Unit Committees in the District. Some discussions were held with the District Coordinating Director and the District Officer in charge of registration of births and deaths. The study reveals that the Town/Area Councils and Unit Committees, apart from organisation of communal labour towards the implementation of self-help projects and sanitation have not as yet made any meaningful contribution towards the development of the Yilo Krobo District. They have made some efforts to mobilise people in the communities to participate but the level of participation, especially in decision making is still low. Revenue is not being identified and mobilised. Some Unit Committees have identified the development needs of their communities in the form projects, but these are not collated by the Town/Area councils and were therefore presented undocumented through their respective Assembly members to the District Assembly, making it difficult to be collated into district development programmes. The analysis has revealed that lack of support from the District is a major factor contributing to the ineffectiveness of the Town/ Area Councils and Unit Committees. Revenue areas have not been ceded to the sub-structures, they have less access to information from the district and the government, staff is lacking at Sub-district level, and training and proper orientation have not been provided for them. The study concludes by providing some recommendations, which requires interventions from the District Assembly, Non-Governmental Organisations and the Government to enable the Town/Area councils and their Unit Committees perform their roles towards the development of the district. Specifically it proposed for capacity building, awareness creation and actions towards improving communication, motivation of members of the substructures, improve funding and efforts by the District Assembly to address the development needs of the communities.
A Thesis submitted to the Board 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 Planning and Management, 2000