Thematic Areas



Political Decentralisation and Legal Reforms includes the institutional arrangements for policy coordination. Its objective is to ensure effective local governance by strengthening the participation and contribution of various levels of government and different actors in local governance and institutions that monitor the functioning of local governance in Ghana.



  • Maintain a more manageable and stable number of districts.
  • Settle or substantially reduce inter-district demarcation disputes.
  • Ensure continuity of structures of local governance after 2015 DLE.
  • Strengthen the sub-district structures of the local governance architecture and make them functional and more effective.
  • Improve the quality of MMDAs and members of MMDAs.
  • Improve MMDA procedures and processes and improve decentralization policy coordination at the national level.
  • Implement change management strategy to dispose personnel more favourably towards decentralization.
  • Create the enabling environment for stable and effective political decentralization.


The IMCC continues to play a lead role in coordinating decentralisation policy reform. There is consensus between the Government of Ghana and Development Partners to adopt a Sector wide approach to Decentralisation to support the implementation of the National Decentralisation Policy Framework and the National Decentralisation Action Plan. For this reason, a Letter of Intent jointly agreed by Government of Ghana and Development Partners has been adopted. The SWAp will focus on Policy, legal and institutional reforms, Capacity Building of MMDAs and RCCs and Funding of Local Service Delivery.


The following commitments are expected to be fulfilled in order to ensure the effective operationalisation of the Sector-Wide Approach to decentralisation:

  • Preparation of a comprehensive performance assessment framework which includes the three (3) components of the SWAp.
  • The Development of a medium-term expenditure framework which includes the 3 components of the SWAp;
  • An agreement on a common monitoring and reporting arrangement;
  • Roll out the “Implementation strategy and action plan to strengthen the performance-based grant component of the District Assembly Common Fund” according to its timeframe; Specify institutional arrangements/set up (roles and responsibilities).



This aims at improving the administrative and human resource capacity of the MMDAs and other local government stakeholders to ensure quality service delivery at the local level. The Office of the Head of Local Government Service and the Office of the Head of Civil Service, have been identified as the key national level institutions responsible for advancing reforms in this area. The policy objective of this thematic area is to improve the administrative and human resource capacity of the MMDAs and other local government stakeholders to ensure quality services delivery. This action area is probably the most critical as it seeks to improve the administrative and human resource capacity of the MMDAs and other local government stakeholders to ensure quality service delivery.


  • Conclude the establishment of the departments of the MMDAs.
  • Decentralise by de-concentration of appropriate organisations and departments to the district and regional levels.
  • Ensure the autonomy of MMDAs in the area of administrative decentralization.
  • Ensure effective inter-service/inter-sectoral collaboration and cooperation at the district, regional and national levels.
  • Enhance the capacity of MMDAs to deliver municipal services effectively and efficiently in line with their mandates generally.


There has been significant progress with major administrative reforms aimed at achieving the policy measures.

An Inter-Service collaboration and cooperation framework (systems and procedures for harmonisation and cooperation between the various services) has been approved by both the Local Government Service Council and Cabinet. The framework has been operationalised by the OHLGS;

The development of organizational manuals for a number of decentralised departments. The manuals for the five MDAs captured under the GDSP II indicators have been validated and are being implemented;

The OHLGS has developed and operationalised a Performance Management System. Client Service Centres have also been established in all 216 MMDAs. The performance of these centres are linked to the Service Delivery Standards and Performance Management System.

In addition, the OHLGS has developed, printed, disseminated and operationalised a Capacity Building Framework for staff of the Local Government Service.

A draft Revenue Mobilisation Manual for MMDAs in Ghana (A Training Manual) and a Revenue Mobilisation Handbook for MMDAs (A Training Handbook) have been developed and are currently being reviewed and updated by an Internally Generated Fund (IGF) technical working group which has been tasked to complete the draft IGF strategy and reference guide by streamlining and sharpening performance assessment tools in order to make them relevant for revenue mobilization and reflect government strategic priorities on internally generated funds.




This thematic area addresses issues related to Decentralised Development Planning and Budgeting, Spatial Planning and Local Economic Development activities at the MMDA level. Quite a significant progress has been made in this area, including the coming into being of the PPP and LED policies, training and sensitisation programmes held to orientate stakeholders on the policies.

The policy objective under the thematic area is to strengthen local level capacity for decentralised and participatory development planning and budgeting and their integration with the national agenda, strengthen the local capacity for spatial planning and facilitate local economic growth, employment and income generation.


  • Strengthen the decentralised planning system and process.
  • Enhance the capacity of the relevant institutions to deliver on their spatial planning mandates.
  • Ensure the implementation of LED and PPP policies at the district level for economic growth, employment creation and income generation.
  • Create the enabling environment for the implementation of LED and PPP initiatives


The enactment of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill since its passage into law has become pivotal to the implementation of other key activities outlined in the Action Plan.

The passage of the new Pubic Procurement Act 2016, Act 914 amends sections of the existing PPA Act 2003 Act 663. The Act has revised approval thresholds and introduced new procurement structures for local government agencies. The National Development Planning Commission Instrument has been enacted while efforts are being made to finalise the National Development Planning (System) L.I. for submission to Parliament.

The PPP Bill is currently before Parliament for consideration. This new bill addresses the shortcomings within the existing PPP Policy to make it suitable for use by MMDAs.




The fiscal decentralisation policy objective is to improve funding and financial management of MMDAs. It aims at ensuring that the principle of fiscal decentralisation which is “funds follow functions” is achieved in its totality. Therefore, the objective is to ensure that there is equilibrium between the functions that are transferred to the MMDAs and the decentralised fiscal transfers that are made available to them by way of the DACF and Inter-Governmental Fiscal transfers, IGFs and other miscellaneous transfers must be sufficient to cover the totality of the cost of providing development and municipal services at the local level.



The policy objective of Fiscal Decentralisation is to improve funding and financial management of MMDAs.



To achieve the policy objective, a number of Policy Measures have been outlined as follows:

  • Ensure implementation of approved IGFF/IGFT and IGF recommendations.
  • Review and harmonise financial sector legislations.
  • Financially capacitate the regional level of governance.
  • Enhance the revenue mobilisation capacity and capability of MMDAs.
  • Capacitate the new Municipal Assemblies.
  • Sustain the DDF beyond the pullout date of the DPs.
  • Provide dedicated decentralization funding.
  • Improve the quality of Revenue Improvement Action Plans (RIAPs) of MMDAs.
  • Introduce structural changes in Public Finance Management at the MMDA level.
  • Improve service delivery at the MMDA level.



The Public Financial Management bill has been passed into Law. Furthermore, as part of the SWAp arrangement, a common funding modality has been agreed by DDF DPs which will require the DACF to play a critical role in its implementation. A letter of intent for SWAp has been signed by all key parties, including Development Partners.

Efforts are being made to deepen the composite budget system of the MMDAs which was introduced in 2012. For instance, the composite budget manual which was developed in 2012 was reviewed and is being used for training of MMDAs in 2016.

For the first time, budget guidelines for the appropriation of MTEP has been provided for the implementation of the Regional Integrated Budgeting System (RIBS). RIBS is an integrated budgeting system which seeks to streamline the existing budgetary allocations and transfers (revenue and expenditure) to the RCCs and the Regional Departments within the regions for effective coordination, monitoring and reporting on service delivery at the regional level. So far, sensitization workshops have been conducted on the RIBS for the RCCs as well as the RPCUs. In addition, IFMIS is being introduced to 53 more MMDAs.



IGFT: The IGFF has been completed and approved by Cabinet.

Composite budget: The composite budget manual that was developed in 2012 was reviewed and will be used for training of MMDAs in 2016. In addition, a refresher training on the revised harmonized chart of accounts was conducted for staff of the MMDAs for the preparation of the 2016-2018 budget. To ensure citizen participation, regional hearings have been held in each region where citizens were given the opportunity to participate in the budget process.

In terms of sector fiscal decentralization, fiscal decentralization of education and health is currently on-going. The objective is to assess the various decentralization issues and procedures within the health and education sectors in Ghana and propose recommendations that are capable of enhancing effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery; ensuring equity in access and resource distribution; increasing resource mobilisation; and ensuring accountability to the Central Government and to the local population. The first draft report was discussed at a validation workshop on November 24, 2015.

Alignment of compensation of employees: An assignment was carried out to align the Nominal and Payroll Management Units of LI 1961 Schedule One Departments and staff within the MMDAs for effective management of compensation of employees. The aim of the assignment is to disaggregate budgets of the affected Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and align the nominal and payroll departments to the assemblies’ payroll management units. This was to enable the Assemblies and MoF estimate, control and monitor and effectively report compensation of employee’s budget, staff transfers, resignations and retirements. A team from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), the Fiscal Decentralization Unit (FDU), the Office of the Head of Local Government Service (OHLGS) and the BTAS undertook a review and prepared a road map for the alignment. The mission was informed that the IFMIS platform has been reconfigured to enable the disaggregated data be entered onto the system.

Also, a new Public Financial Management Act was passed and discussions to also prepare a new Local Government Financial Management Bill are ongoing.

Regional Integrated Budgeting System (RIBS): A RIBS has been introduced to complement the ongoing administrative reforms and strengthen integration of the departments at that levels, as well as equip the RCCs to effectively perform their functions. Specifically, RIBS seek to introduce an element of fiscal prudence in the management of public funds at the RCC level, while strengthening the monitoring role of the RCCs. A proposal for the implementation of the RIBS has been developed with a line up of activities for its implementation. Orientation has begun for targeted departments of the RCCs towards the implementation of the RIBS.




Citizens’ participation is key to every democratic process, as such, the national decentralisation reforms cannot be implemented without the participation of the citizenry. This thematic area therefore highlights the commitment towards the effective participation of the people in decision making and accountability of duty bearers in the governance process.



To promote local democracy, participation and accountability through strong and viable stakeholder involvement and to clarify and strengthen the roles and relationships between key non-state actors such as chiefs and traditional authorities and civil society groups in local governance.



  • Support and promote civic/public education programmes to raise awareness on issues of decentralization, development and municipal services delivery.
  • Strengthen traditional authorities/MMDA’s relationships to promote the district development agenda.
  • Implement programmes to benefit the poor, the marginalized, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
  • Popular participation should result in job and employment creation opportunities.
  • Effectively disseminate information about decentralization and local government “best practices”.



A stakeholder consultative process was used to develop a National Framework for Popular Participation and a Practitioner’s Manual. The framework seeks to harmonize the nation’s aspirations in relation to popular participation and to improve engagement, accountability and service delivery to the Ghanaian citizenry. Ultimately it is expected to enhance democracy by helping to foster a stronger culture of transparency and accountability in MDAs, MMDAs and other relevant independent institutions.

the Local Governance bill which was passed by Parliament in October, 2016 makes extensive provisions for enhancing the participation of people in local governance. These provisions are given practical meaning in the National Framework for Popular Participation.

The framework to clarify the roles and relationship of traditional authorities and CSOs is finalised and distributed electronically.

In addition, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development(MLGRD) has developed and operationalised guidelines for effective consultations with the traditional authorities and other interest groups in appointing the 30% membership of MMDAs. The guidelines are also amply captured in the NDPF.

Further, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) has received support from the IMCC to develop a comprehensive National Framework and Guidelines to ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed into all policies, plans, programmes and activities of local government, thus significantly helping to enhance the quality of life, full participation, and empowerment of men, women, youth, the elderly and children with disabilities in all spheres of life at all levels.