Knowing the functions of District Assemblies may enable us, their constituents, to see how much their work impacts so many aspects of our lives, and perhaps appreciate how important (or not) it is for everyone to take strong interest in what the District Assemblies do.
This knowledge can empower us to hold them accountable, demand quality municipal services and better representation of our elected assemblymembers.
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, in Article 240, tasks them, the local government authorities (Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies — MMDAs) to plan, initiate, co-ordinate, manage and execute policies in respect of all matters affecting the people within their areas. In view of that mandate, the Local Government Act, 1993— Act 462 defines the functions for the MMDAs as follows:
- To exercise political and administrative authority in the district, provide guidance, give direction to, and supervise the other administrative authorities in the district.
- To performs deliberative, legislative and executive functions.
- To be responsible for the overall development of the district and shall ensure the preparation
(i) of development plans of the district;
(ii) of the annual and medium term budgets of the district related to its development plans.
- To formulate and execute plans, programmes and strategies for the effective mobilisation of the resources necessary for the overall development of the district.
- To promote and support productive activity and social development in the district and remove any obstacles to initiative and development.
- To initiate programmes for the development of basic infrastructure and provide municipal works and services in the district.
- To be responsible for the development, improvement and management of human settlements and the environment in the district.
- To be responsible, in cooperation with the appropriate national and local security agencies, for the maintenance of security and public safety in the district.
- To ensure ready access to Courts in the district for the promotion of justice.
- To initiate, sponsor or carry out studies that are necessary for the performance of a function conferred by Act 462 or by any other enactment.
- To perform any other functions provided for under any other legislation.
- To take the steps and measures that are necessary and expedient to
(a) execute approved development plans for the district;
(b) guide, encourage and support sub-district local government bodies, public agencies and local communities to discharge their roles in the execution of approved development plans;
(c) initiate and encourage joint participation with any other persons or bodies to execute approved development plans;
(d) promote or encourage other persons or bodies to undertake projects under approved development plans; and
(e) monitor the execution of projects under approved development plans and assess and evaluate their impact on the people’s development, the local, district and national economy.
- To coordinate, integrate and harmonise the execution of programmes and projects under approved development plans for the district, any and other development programmes promoted or carried out by Ministries, departments, public corporations and any other statutory bodies and non-governmental organisations in the district.
Finally, a District Assembly in the performance of its functions, is subject to the general guidance and direction of the President on matters of national policy, and shall act in co-operation with the appropriate public corporation, statutory body or non-governmental organizations.