Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ILGS launches 10th Anniversary celebrations

The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS), on Monday launched its 10th Anniversary celebrations on the theme: "Sustaining the Gains of Two Decades of Decentralisation and Local Governance", to affirm its commitment to the national agenda of ensuring good governance through decentralisation.The theme would also ensure vivid review of the performance of the ILGS over the years and chart the way forward to achieve further excellence in its operations.Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Director, ILGS, in her welcoming address, said more than 10,000 people had benefited from the Institute since its establishment in 1999.She said with a mandate to serve functionaries of District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies, Regional Co-ordinating Councils and interested parties through education and training, research, consultancy and information mobilization and dissemination, the institute had lived up to its expectation with scarce resources. Dr Ofei-Aboagye acknowledged the efforts and contributions of the past leadership of the Institute towards the sustenance of the vision and mandate of the Institute and urged the present leadership to strategise to meet the set goals.She said the Institute would undertake a series of activities including, lectures and symposiums over a nine-month period to mark the celebrations.Dr Ofei-Aboagye said the Institute had played and continued to play major roles in promoting and enhancing good governance through its training and research programmes, while ensuring that major government policies and programmes were sustained and implemented at the local levels.She said currently the institute was working on the accreditation of specific programmes for the Ghanaian development market as well as for the Local Government Service.It was also on the verge of concluding an agreement with the State University of New York and Microsoft as a Microsoft IT Academy. "We are incubating three centres of excellence in Local Economic Development; Gender, Social Development and Local Governance and Urban Management," she said.Dr Ofei-Aboagye indicated that the Institute aimed to contribute to effective reflection and deepening of Ghana's local governance from policy, practice and advocacy perspectives, saying its Saturday schools which were instituted as a test from the year 2006 to 2007 would be resumed.Dr Ofei-Aboagye said the institute with the support of its partners adopted other strategies including regular policy reflection and think-tank meetings and public lectures and also strengthened its relationship with its potential partners including the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG). She said the institute would also build on existing links with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Development Studies (UDS) and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).Dr Ofei-Aboagye said with the assistance of the sector Minister and key actors, the Institute intended to expand its infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of existing buildings and the construction of a hostel complex to house more trainees.Dr Ofei-Aboagye said in spite of its enormous responsibilities in enhancing capacity for local governance, the Institute had survived and remained self-financing without government subvention or regular contributions from any source."We have virtually no vehicles that can travel without a breakdown and have depended on the largesse of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development."She said lack of funding had often prevented the institute from performing to its fullest and called for support from all stakeholders to help promote the national agenda of decentralising governance. Dr Ofei-Aboagye said the Institute had, however, developed undisputed expertise over the years notwithstanding its numerous challenges, adding that its faculty members had delivered services that had been widely appreciated as being of excellent quality. Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), who outpoured the Chief Executives' Source Book, said modern day leadership had become complex and demanding and involved the establishment of an overall direction through visioning. Leaders were therefore expected to identify and address the changes necessary to bring about the vision.The book, which is on various topics on the local government sector, the legislative framework for the decentralisation process and the District Assembly as a system, also has a chapter on the functions and responsibilities of the Chief Executive as well as their requirements. Mr Chireh said leaders were expected to understand and manage the business of the entity they led and inspired. They should also encourage the people they worked with to give of their best, saying the book would serve as a useful guide and reference for the reader on various issues related to local governance. He commended the Institute for the timely publication of the book and pledged the Ministry's support and assistance to the Institute to ensure excellence.

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