WaterAid Ghana commissioned a fiscal decentralisation study, which forms part of a global study into decentralization of WASH financing and was concurrently undertaken in six (6) countries. The Ghana study did a deep-dive analysis on financial flows and fiscal decentralization in the WASH sector in Bongo District Assembly and Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly, and the factors that impact its effectiveness and how this impacts the delivery and sustainability of WASH services.
Additionally, CONIWAS and WaterAid Ghana undertook the budget tracking of WASH expenditure at the national level, which assessed the budget releases by Government in 2021 to the core WASH agencies at the national level; and analysed the 2022 and 2023 budgetary allocations.
WaterAid, CONIWAS and Partners will lead the discussion with the objective of sharing the findings to inform the discussion on fiscal decentralization and its impact on WASH service delivery; highlight financial gaps in the WASH sector that hinder the progress towards set targets; and to provide evidence for sector stakeholders to engage towards more effective service delivery through broader fiscal decentralization
Fiscal Decentralization Study
Over the past thirty to forty years, decentralization has been a key policy objective for many low- and middle-income countries (LIC/MICs), including Ghana, and has been promoted as a vital governance reform by many international agencies. However, in many countries, there has been a greater decentralization of responsibilities than revenues or financial autonomy. Furthermore, there is often a significant gap between what theory suggests is best practice for fiscal decentralization and what is implemented in practice reinforced by challenges such as limited financial and human resources, delayed funding transfers, accountability at national and local levels, and complex accounting procedures. As a result, many local governments lack the technical and financial capacity to carry out the administrative duties that they have been assigned, including within the WASH sector. Recognizing that strengthening national processes for fiscal decentralization is a critical step in enabling local governments to fulfill their responsibility for delivering public services.
This study forms part of a global study into decentralization of WASH financing and was concurrently undertaken in six (6) countries. The Ghana study had two case studies at Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly in the Greater Accra Region and Bongo District Assembly. The focus of the Ablekuma Central District Assembly was on sanitation, whilst that of the Bongo District Assembly was on rural water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). The study did a deep-dive analysis on financial flows and fiscal decentralization in the WASH sector in Bongo District Assembly and Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly, and the factors that impact its effectiveness and how this impacts the delivery and sustainability of WASH services.
The study has generated country-level evidence and two case studies for MMDAs to make it possible to improve the effectiveness of fiscal decentralization for WASH. The study presents useful information (through documentation and infographics) for multiple stakeholders especially for WASH sector analysis.
Budget tracking and 2023 budget analysis
Again, CONIWAS and WaterAid Ghana undertook the budget tracking of WASH expenditure at the national level. This study assessed the national level budgets and actual expenditure on sanitation and water for the fiscal years 2020, 2021 and analysis of the 2022 and 2023 water and sanitation budget. The main agencies targeted were the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), The Water Resources Commission, and Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL). The overall objective of the assignment is to assess the budget releases by the Government in 2021 to the core WASH agencies at the national level and analyse the 2022 and 2023 budgetary allocations.
WaterAid Ghana with support from Beek Consult, CONIWAS and Dr. Chaka Uzondu will collaborate with IRC/RCN to disseminate the findings from these two studies through the National Level Learning Alliance Platform (NLLAP). NLLAP is a WASH sector multi-stakeholder platform with the overall goal of improving sector learning and dialogue. It is hosted by the Ghana WASH Resource Centre Network (RCN). The platform offers learning and sharing opportunities for sector players as one of the practical approaches to improving sector engagements/sharing with the long-term aim of achieving a knowledge-driven WASH sector that delivers quality and sustainable services in Ghana.