Whether the establishment of district and chiefdom councils and the entire decentralization process have positively impacted the lives of the people of Sierra Leone are issues which experts in governance and development studies should look into” The Act of 2004 In 2004 a new Local Government Act facilitated the resuscitation of elected local authorities by providing for the creation of 19 local authorities, 12 District councils; 1 metropolitan council; 1 rural district council and 5 town councils led by District Council Chair Persons and Mayors.
The mall thrust of the Local Government Act (2004) is to foster effective and efficient service delivery in Sierra Leone at acceptable standards. The Local Government Act 2004 specifies 80 functions to be devolved to local government, all of which were to be devolved by the end of 2012. In the early days of the reintroduction of local governance, there were Initial successes such as he ‘big bang’ of devolving three basic services of primary health care, basic education and agricultural extension from central government to the new local councils.
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The Local Government Act (2004) has provision for the setting up of an Inter-Multilateral committee on decentralization with the Vice President as Chair and the Ministry responsible for Local Government serving as Secretariat. This committee If It met regularly could enhance the Implementation of the decentralization programmer by promptly addressing all problems existing within the system and abele by the supervising Ministry of Local Government, which is responsible for agenda setting.
There is place for Coos in the decentralization process and this relates to ensuring that the Midas and all local councils comply with Part XV of the Local Government Act on transparency and accountability. The Coos could do this through programmer of joint monitoring and evaluation of the work of local councils, assessing the nature and quality of support from Midas and the degree to which citizens as final beneficiaries are being involved in the process.
The funding halogen faced by many of the national Nags and community based organizations (Cobs) has been undermining the ability of Cobs to fully and effectively engage the decentralization reform process. Local councils and the Chiefdom Councils under the act have sufficient mandate to raise revenue including mining royalties, local taxes, property rates, licenses fees and Some Challenges “hen the Local Government Act 2004 (ALGA 2004) was enacted to provide for decentralization, it was not sufficiently clear about the relationship between the local councils and chiefdom authorities in some key areas.
Some ten years after the passage of the ALGA, there are several outstanding issues relating to devolution of functions to local councils. The central government has been largely reluctant to devolve functions that attract revenue and massive budgetary allocation. For instance, only 30% of central government budget was transferred to local councils in 2010. In view of the limited amount of tax revenue raised by local councils and the inadequate central government subventions, local councils face serious financial constraints.
There are many more challenges to ponder. Ward Development Committees, which re supposed to provide a link between the councils and the people, are either incompetent or uncommitted to the task and in fact rarely convene meetings, and have done very little to keep the people posted on development issues. Ere selection of WAD members itself has been characterized by nepotism, with councilors mostly hand-picking political cronies and friends. He Local Government Ministry, which is obligated to promote participatory processes in local councils and encourage citizens’ inclusion and involvement in governance, has done very little in terms of promoting mass participation in velveteen issues at the local level. Even where councils seek the views of the people when preparing annual development plans, residents complain that most of their felt needs have either been ignored or only partially implemented.
In almost all 19 local councils in Sierra Leone. It is regrettable that most of them have generally failed to implement the transparency obligations placed on them by Articles 107 and 108. Here are a few examples to consider: Out of the 20 Wards in the Nesters Rural District, only five have erected notice boards. Where there are notice boards, they are rarely updated.