Mar 23, 2009, 6:00 AM
Effective local governance is key to the attainment of our national development blueprints such as the Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), Vision 2020 and the MDGs.
Ensuring effective and proper utilization of local revenues being collected from the regions, Kanifing Municipality and Banjul city council is essential for our overall national development.
While we understand the challenges councils do face in collecting revenue, it is our firm conviction that these funds must be ploughed back to the communities in the form of infrastructure development.
This reminds us of the need to have well-trained staff and good management systems to transform these limited resources into public services.
Local councils if well managed could provide a wide range of services to the population such as feeder roads, street lights, school fees to the needy and toilets facilities at various weekly lumos (markets) .
However, due to lack of effective local governance, many types of councils in the country are struggling to pay operating costs and are largely dependent on the national government to fund public services or infrastructure improvements, which should not be the case.
It is also our belief that in order to be able to eradicate poverty, exclusion, and achieve environmental sustainability, local action and leadership are pivotal.
But these could not happen if the local councils are not accountable to the people who pay them their rates and taxes.
It calls for the promotion of accountability in our local governments just like it is required in the central government.
We need to empower citizens to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives, and to hold local councils accountable.