The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) on Saturday awarded Masters Degrees to 149 students at its fourth graduation with a call on government to restore funding for the Institute.
Professor Imoro Briamah, the Provost of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUST) made the call at the fourth graduation, which also marked the 20th Anniversary of the Institute.
Referring to the Act establishing the Institute, he said it was unfair and ‘illegal’ for the government to have weaned off the Institute from government subventions before its maturity.
He urged government through the Sector Minister to restore funding for the Institute to allow it run effectively and grow to become a world class Institute for local government studies.
Prof Briamah said: “If this little thing of restoring their salaries is done, I can promise you that this Institute will build the needed capacity for democratic decentralization in Ghana and beyond.”
He said if the Institute was retooled to pick up its research mandate, the Institute shall be in the position to contribute its quota to the country’s democratic governance by tackling critical issues.
The graduation, which was on the theme: “20 years of Capacity Building for Decentralization and Local Governance: The Imperatives of Local Government Studies”, conferred Masters of Science degrees in Local Government Administration, Local Government Financial Management, Local Economic Development, Urban and Environment Science, Policy and Management on graduates.
Dr Abdulai Darimani, the Acting Director of the ILGS urged the Government to support the Institute to secure core funding for a minimum of five years, student hostels, lecture halls and a conference centre.
He the Institute was desirous and committed to become a distinguished Institution in the country with specialization in decentralization and local governance.
Dr Darimani said internationalizing the Institute’s strategic and business development plans, it would up-scale efforts with partners to mainstream computer literacy and applications in academic and management development training programmes.
Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, the Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development said government was aware that the Institute needed both human and material resources at all times.
He said, government was committed to making the Institute a Centre of Excellence and provide facilities for conducive academic works and to prioritize the Institute’s activities within Ministries Departments and Agencies.
He said, if indeed the Institution is 20 years, then it should reflect in what had been done in the past two decades as many people had been trained in the Institute.
He said a number of discussions had been held on how the Institute could be supported to play its role as was set out two decades ago.
The Minister said there had been numerous discussions on building a hostel for the Institute and that, plans were far advanced towards making it a reality.
He said government would address the challenges confronting the Institute one at a time and assured that the same problems would not be mentioned at the next year’s graduation ceremony.
Naba Moses Abaare Appiah IV, the Chairman of the ILGS Council commended the graduates and urged them to live up to expectations in the world of work being the lead advocate for their Alma Mata.
Dr Nicholas Awortwi, a local governance expert was introduced as the incoming substantive Director of the Institute effective June 1, this year.
He told the Ghana News Agency that he was poised to bring numerous facelifts to the Institute.