Over the last five years, the previous Administration used Local Democratic Organs (LDOs) as a slush fund, says Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, as he presents the National Budget for 2020.
“We would have observed an inflated workforce from the hiring of political actors, and this would have cost taxpayers millions of dollars…There was no record or report of the work done by most of these employees. From all accounts, LDOs were underperforming and negatively impacted as a result of an unclear policy direction,” he said.
He told the House that Government believes strongly in community development, regional improvement and national collaboration. Therefore, the Irfaan Ali administration will implement its manifesto programme for local government which details strategic actions that will improve the efficacy of LDOs.
He said that under the new administration, the regional bodies and the Neighborhood Democratic Councils will be strengthened to better engender local democracy.
“The Ministry of Local Government has been reestablished to focus on this agenda and now has dedicated programmes to oversee development at the regional and local government levels,” he noted.
The minister added that the local government representatives of the people will be supported by policy direction and additional funding through increased subventions and institutional strengthening to more effectively manage their resources and take on greater maintenance responsibilities for infrastructural development.
“We will bolster citizens’ access to community spaces and services, and ensure that the various programmes of the 10 administrative regions are supported by the relevant sector agencies and ministries,” the Minister told the House.
He noted that emphasis will be placed on improving citizens’ awareness of the importance and role of the local government system and how they may participate in its development.