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Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

Public Service Delivery (SEK0008)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sekondi-Takoradi Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly

Support Institution(s): Other involved actors Government STMA (Development Planning Unit, Works Department, Urban Roads Department), Lands Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water Company Ltd, Ghana Fire Service Civil Society, Private Sector Institution: Friends of the Nation Designation: Natural Resources Governance Coordinator Name: Solomon Kusi Ampofo Telephone:+233-24-4055951 E-mail: s.ampofo@fonghana.org Berea Social Foundation, African Women International, Community Land and Development Foundation, Global Communities, STMA-CSUF, Media and other relevant Local and International Organisations (eg CADASTA)

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Land Rights & Spatial Planning, Local Commitments, Public Service Delivery, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sekondi-Takoradi Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

NO. 3: PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY (Permitting & Enforcement of Land Use and Spatial Plans)
Improve transparency and reduce bureaucracy in the acquisition development permits through a smart governance system.
Name and contact information of responsible department/team
Institution: Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly
Designation: Metropolitan Physical Planning Officer
Name: Kofi Yeboah
Telephone: +233-543-536363
E-mail: kofi.yeboah@yahoo.com
Other involved actors
Government
STMA (Development Planning Unit, Works Department, Urban Roads Department), Lands Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water Company Ltd, Ghana Fire Service
Civil Society, Private Sector
Institution: Friends of the Nation Designation: Natural Resources Governance Coordinator Name: Solomon Kusi Ampofo Telephone:+233-24-4055951 E-mail: s.ampofo@fonghana.org Berea Social Foundation, African Women International, Community Land and Development Foundation, Global Communities, STMA-CSUF, Media and other relevant Local and International Organisations (eg CADASTA)
Status quo or problem/issue to be addressed
According to the Land Use and Spatial Planning Act 2016, Act 925 and the Local Governance Act 2016, Act 936; prospective developers should acquire permits from the Assembly before commencement of any physical development. The city has experience rapid urban growth due to the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in 2007 and subsequent production in 2010. This is evidenced in population increase from 444,752 in 2010 to 722,798 in 2018. However, the planning system and the Authority responsible for Town and Country Planning that controls and promotes growth and physical development have come under public criticism for failure to effectively control development (building on water ways leading to flooding, encroachment of wetlands, and encroachment on public open space). The planning mechanism is overwhelmed by noticeable limitations of human and financial resources to ensure effective development control and keep developments data for the Assembly to generate the needed local revenues. There is also inadequate knowledge about the process and also delays in acquiring development permits. In most instances it takes more than the required 90 days to acquire the development permits as it happened in 2017 where most applicants received their permits after 6 months.
Brief Description of Commitment
The Assembly will work in collaboration with the relevant state institutions and agencies to develop mechanisms to enhance development control and ensure timely approval of development permits. To address the lack of adequate financial and limited technical means to ensure effective development control, a geospatial monitoring platform for land development and management will be adopted. This will ensure close monitoring and evaluation of development control activities, permitting, infrastructural and social improvements projects and make data accessible to all concerned departments of the Assembly in real time. Providing a wide variety of innovation mapping and monitoring services, the online tool will enhance a smarter Sekondi-Takoradi City and support orderly spatial development and also track all land development revenues. Develop Information Education Communication (IEC) materials to communicate in simple terms permitting procedure.
Main Objective
To promote transparency and ease of acquiring permitting for effective development control and management
Way in which this commitment is relevant to further advancing OGP values of access to information, public accountability, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability
This commitment will promote transparency and eliminate corruption through the reduction of the rate of human contacts, delays in acquiring development and business permits and reduce bureaucracy. The technology and innovation to be adopted will help to ensure judicious use of land in order to improve quality of life, promote health and safety in respect of human settlements for openness and accountability.
Linkage to SDGs
As the Metropolis becomes increasingly urbanized, urban sprawl is unavoidable and this commitment will go a long way to address challenges it poses such as unplanned developments, encroachment and difficulty in enforcing land-use related infringements among others. Consequently the implementation of this commitments will contribute to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets: Goals 2 (end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) Goal 9 (build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation) Goal 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) Goal 13 (climate change) Goal 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) Goal 16 (promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable
development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels)
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment
1. Procure, install and operationalize a geospatial platform to enhance the processing of developments and building permits. The platform will aid prospective developers and business operators to track and monitor their applications from the submission to the final approval and collection stage.
Staff time, consultancy, Stationery
Oct. 2018 – March 2019
2. Establish a technical working team to ensure the implementation of the geospatial platform. coordinate the integration of all land development revenues (property tax and business operating permits) data unto the platform to aid in data usage and management.
Staff time, Stationery, Desktop Computers
Nov. 2018- Aug. 2020
3. Develop mechanisms for updating database. The Metropolitan Physical Planning Department will work with the relevant departments to update database on development to allow easy access to information and local revenue mobilisation
Staff time, Stationery, Desktop Computers
Dec. 2018 – Aug. 2020
4. Ensure real time monitoring through the introduction of surveillance drone-: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VAN). The Metropolitan Assembly will procure VAN to assist in real time monitoring. This will ensure prompt responsiveness to unauthorised development.
Staff time, consultancy, Stationery
Nov. 2018 – April 2019
5. Build the capacity of building inspectors and revenue collectors to effectively use the geospatial platform to track and monitor development.
Staff time, Resource person, Audio visual equipment, Training material
Jan. 2019 – Aug. 2019
6. Institute mechanisms to enhance permit acquisition. The Metropolitan Assembly will adopt mechanisms such monthly meeting of the Spatial Planning Committee to reduce the turnaround time for permitting.
Staff time, Audio visual equipment
Oct. 2018 – Aug. 2020
7. Develop a comprehensive communication plan. The Metropolitan Assembly will develop this plan to educate and sensitize the public on how to access the platform and permitting processes and procedures leveraging on the Multistakeholder forum, media and the existing community engagement.
Staff time, Resource person/consultancy
Nov. 2018 – Aug. 2019
Future Vision
To enhance municipal service delivery through technology and innovation

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Public Service Delivery (Permitting and Enforcement of Land Use and Spatial Plans)

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“Improve transparency and reduce bureaucracy in the acquisition development permits through a smart governance system.”

Milestones:

  1. Procure, install and operationalize a geospatial platform to enhance the processing of developments and building permits. The platform will aid prospective developers and business operators to track and monitor their applications from the submission to the final approval and collection stage.
  2. Establish a technical working team to
  • ensure the implementation of the geospatial platform.
  • coordinate the integration of all land development revenues (property tax and business operating permits) data unto the platform to aid in data usage and management..
  1. Develop mechanisms for updating database. The Metropolitan Physical Planning Department will work with the relevant departments to update database on development to allow easy access to information and local revenue mobilisation.
  2. Ensure real time monitoring through the introduction of surveillance drone-: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VAN). The Metropolitan Assembly will procure VAN to assist in real time monitoring. This will ensure prompt responsiveness to unauthorised development.
  3. Build the capacity of building inspectors and revenue collectors to effectively use the geospatial platform to track and monitor development.
  4. Institute mechanisms to enhance permit acquisition. The Metropolitan Assembly will adopt mechanisms such monthly meeting of the Spatial Planning Committee to reduce the turnaround time for permitting.
  5. Develop a comprehensive communication plan. The Metropolitan Assembly will develop this plan to educate and sensitize the public on how to access the platform and permitting processes and procedures leveraging on the Multi-stakeholder forum, media and the existing community engagement. [21]

Commitment Overview

Verifiability

OGP Value Relevance (as written)

Potential Impact

Completion

Did It Open Government?

Not specific enough to be verifiable

Specific enough to be verifiable

Access to Information

Civic Participation

Public Accountability

Technology & Innovation for Transparency & Accountability

None

Minor

Moderate

Transformative

Not Started

Limited

Substantial

Completed

Worsened

Did Not Change

Marginal

Major

Outstanding

1. Overall

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Assessed at the end of action plan cycle.

Context and Objectives

Land use and spatial planning present big problems in the various local government areas across the country. One of the main problems has to do with excessive delays in acquiring building permits for private development. These delays are caused by factors such as use of a manual instead of a digital application process. The complexity of the process renders it obscure to applicants. [22] This lack of transparency creates the incentive for corruption and frustrates the public who are anxious to commence building projects. As a result, many ongoing private physical development projects around the country are unauthorised. [23] This disrupts the official spatial planning designs and limits the ability of the local governments to levy and collect housing rates. Many of these unauthorised structures are built on waterways, frequently resulting in flooding, property destruction, and unfortunate loss of lives. This, in turn, necessitates occasional demolition exercises across the country. [24]

This commitment seeks to address these problems by promoting transparency of the permitting process. The central component of this commitment involves the deployment of a publicly-accessible geospatial monitoring platform to facilitate monitoring of private and public development projects. This would allow prospective developers to track their applications from submission to collection stage. Under this commitment, the inhouse workflow is being streamlined to make the process more efficient. [25] As part of this strategy, the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) plans to utilise surveillance drones to assist in real-time monitoring and to ensure speedy action on unauthorised development projects. The assembly also plans to have public education forums on the use of this platform. [26]

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of utilising technology and innovation for openness and accountability, due to the inclusion of the geospatial internet platform. It is also relevant to the value of access to information, as the platform will allow individuals, prospective developers, and business operators to track and monitor their application progress. This will be complemented by public education on how to access the platform. This commitment is specific enough to verify its completion.

This commitment has a moderate potential to improve government delivery of permits and spatial planning through increased transparency of the permit and planning process. Kofi Yeboah, head of the STMA Physical Planning Office, shared that the benefits of this commitment are likely to be far-reaching. [27] For instance, speedy processing of permit applications will encourage more people to apply for building permits before commencing private developments. [28] This would give the assembly more control over spatial development, and begin to address the problem of flooding in the metropolis. [29] In addition, opportunity for local officials to extort bribes will be significantly reduced because applicants will be able to monitor the progress of their application in real time. Moreover, the use of the surveillance drones will allow the assembly to effectively monitor the state of physical development in the twin city. Finally, as the Physical Planning Officer observed, this commitment could enhance STMA's ability to generate more revenue through issuance of permits and updated database for the collection of housing rate. [30] These views were shared by other representatives on the multi-stakeholder forum (MSF). For instance, Seth Nyarko, a National Health Insurance Scheme representative, opined that if this commitment was implemented, it would bring about a marked improvement in the lives of the people. [31]

Next steps

The IRM researcher makes the following recommendations:

  • If continued in future action plans, this commitment could incorporate a participatory element by training stakeholders—like CSO representatives or community champions—in the use of the geospatial platform to enable them to also track and monitor spatial developments in the metropolis.
  • The action plan could also integrate an accountability mechanism, notably by allowing citizens to address issues deemed problematic either in the instrument or in the awarding of Land Use permits.
  • As written, this commitment could minimise the incidence of corruption that tends to be associated with the permit application process. However, it could further tighten these measures by including strong sanctions against any identified instance of corruption.

[21] “STMA Local Action Plan 2018-2020”, Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Sekondi-Takoradi_Action-Plan_2018-2020.pdf.
[22] Zaney, G.D., “Reforming licencing, permitting and certification regime for business operations in Ghana”, Ghana.gov.gh, http://www.ghana.gov.gh/index.php/media-center/features/2868-reforming-the-licensing-permitting-and-certification-regime-for-business-operations-in-ghana.
[23] “Issue building permits within 90 days”, Daily Graphic, 15 March 2014, https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/issue-building-permits-within-90-days.html.
[24] “Demolition Rocks Takoradi”, Modern Ghana, 8 February 2014, https://www.modernghana.com/news/521750/demolition-rocks-takoradi.html; “Massive demolition at Madina leaves hundreds homeless and without workplaces”, Ghana Web, 24 April 2019, https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Massive-demolition-at-Madina-leaves-hundreds-homeless-and-without-workplaces-740955.
[25] Kofi Yeboah, interview by IRM researcher, 4 April 2019.
[26] STMA LAP II document, pp. 24-27.
[27] Kofi Yeboah, interview by IRM researcher, 4 April 2019.
[28] “Issue building permits within 90 days”, Daily Graphic, 15 March 2014, https://www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/issue-building-permits-within-90-days.html.
[29] Agyeman, Stephen, Samuel Boamah Asiedu, and Zoya Evans Kpamma, “Challenges in the processing of building permits in Ghana – a precursor for development of illegal structures”, Proceedings of the 7th Annual International Applied Research Conference, July 2014.
[30] Kofi Yeboah, interview by IRM researcher, 4 April 2019.
[31] Seth Nyarko, interview by IRM researcher, 3 April 2019.

Commitments

  1. Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure

    SEK0006, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  2. Civic Participation & Fiscal Transparency

    SEK0007, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Public Service Delivery

    SEK0008, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Access to Information

    SEK0009, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Services –Sanitation

    SEK0010, 2018, Local Commitments

  6. Public Service-Security

    SEK0001, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Public Service - Sanitation

    SEK0002, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  8. Fiscal Transparency

    SEK0003, 2017, Capacity Building

  9. Public Participation - Private Sector

    SEK0004, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  10. Public Participation - Planning

    SEK0005, 2017, Capacity Building

Open Government Partnership