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Bjorn Lomborg

Get the facts straight

Modernised Administration for Increased Autonomy

2020-09-16

Digitising public administration at the local level improves efficiency and productivity. Faster and simpler revenue collection, especially, boosts transparency and increases municipalities’ autonomy by enhancing their ability to generate more local income in a systematic manner.

Ghana has a legal decentralisation framework that allows for the fiscal autonomy of the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) with important planning and coordination functions. The MMDAs are responsible for infrastructure and service delivery in key sectors of public life: waste management, transport, roads, housing, disaster prevention, births, and deaths, among others. However, Ghana’s MMDAs still depend on central government transfers to fund their development, generating only approximately 20% of their total budget with their own resources. Streamlined, fast revenue collection has the potential to improve their autonomy, but decision-makers need to ensure they invest limited public resources in the smartest way possible. Which policies have the potential to do the most good for every cedi spent?