The Local Government Commission, which will oversee, monitor, investigate and examine the actions of the councils, could become operational as soon as next month, according to Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan.
In an interview today, with the Government Information Agency (GINA,) the Minister of Communities explained that the Ministry is in the process of finalising the names of the persons who would serve on the commission. He said that this will be wrapped up soon, and facilitate the operation of the Commission by early June.
Minister Bulkan stated that the candidates for the Commission have already been identified and shortlisted for review and ratification by Cabinet. “I can tell you, we have identified some very strong, suitably and professionally qualified individuals to be members of that commission,” he said.
One of the eight members of the commission had to be appointed by the local government organs through a parliamentary process which has already been completed, Minister Bulkan explained. Additionally the Leader of the Opposition was recently written to, to provide his three (of the eight) nominees for the commission.
He said that the Ministry did have some challenges in identifying an office for the commission, but a location has since been identified. “All things being equal, we expect that at the beginning of June that commission will be operationalised, will be functioning,” Bulkan added.
The legislation for the Local Government Commission came into being in late 2013, but the body’s operationalisation required a commencement order which was not given, up until the end of the last Parliament. The Communities Minister inherited this undertaking, and subsequently provided funding for the Commission’s start-up in the 2016 budget.
Minister Bulkan noted that with the operationalisation of the commission, the ministry will be freed of many of the administrative issues that have to be dealt with in relation to the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and the municipalities.
According to Minister Bulkan, the Ministry will now have time to focus on more strategic issues, including the regions’ management.
The Minister also expressed confidence that the commission will be capable of playing a very active and vibrant role to support the work of the local government organs. He also expressed the view that the commission will be able to strengthen the system of local government and local administration.