“Togo central government has realized the need to embark on a decentralization policy to seek opinions, contributions and effective participation of all the populations to it development.
It was then designed a constitutional and legal framework that have been amended at the National Assembly. The ministry in charge of territorial affairs has been structured and charged with situation analysis and policy formulation and choice as well as the implementation and control measures.
With the assistance of foreign embassies and United Nations agencies, a technical adviser was recruited for piloting the APRODEC programme « Appui au Processus de décentralisation au Togo ». It is co-financed by the central government and its partners. Decentralization programmes have been strongly present in the Ministry of administration and territorial affairs, of decentralization and local collectivity, as the new denomination of the Ministry could demonstrate.
Togo has been subdivided into 5 economic régions (régions des savanes, régions de la Kara, régions centrale, région des plateaux, région maritime), each one with it’s center represented by the biggest city. Each region is also subdivided into prefecture administered by a prefect. The prefect is nominated by the President of the Republic of Togo, following advice of the Minister of Territorial Administrations Affairs, and of decentralization and local collectivity. The prefect has the responsibility to assure security and order, the delegation is given to him to sign administrative papers, such as birth and death certificate, conduct weddings.
There are actually 35 prefectures and 1 under-prefecture. A prefecture is in fact a group together of several district of the same locality. New districts are formed once villages developed. It is also know as a community of medium exercise. A district is an administrative subdivision composed by villages. From some years now the Chief of the district is nominated by the president after popular consultation through small elections. For now it is tested only on the northern areas that are supposed to be state party elective zone and where there is less probability of revendications to raise. That was not always been the way to appoint chiefs, in the years back it was a family succession (inheritance), and this still continues in some major zone of the southern part of the Country. The district chief is the representative of the central government, and has responsibility to advise on administrative problems, and assume traditional court with its note worthies. They are all selected by the chief district himself as its team. They are most of the time, community elder’s and retired civil personnel.
The way as a prefecture is all group together of districts, in urban zone an all group together of cities is administered by a Mayor, assisted by its advisers. The Mayor has same authority and responsibility as a prefect but also entitled of devolution to plan certain project in favor of the community. The district has a treasury that could be use to finance community projects such as Markets, cemeteries, community’s streets. It’s called a community of full exercise.
The difference between a commune of full exercise and that of medium exercise lies in the powers been delegated to them and the title of they administrators. There has been some delocalisation of some public services to the regions in the field of security, legislations, health, utilities, tax paying agencies. In fact all regions has if not a Gendarmerie or a police brigade and some even host military camps. There is in all regions central tax paying agencies which are in charge of tax collection and statistic and fiscality for those regions. But unfortunately local authorities do not have any devolution to plan budget and all taxes paid goes to the center and allocations are made to communities’ base on the annual country’s budget. There is for all centers of regions a CHR (centre hospitalier regional) in charge of administrations of public health services.
Their incapacity to serve all the populations has been solved by increasing the number of medical personnel’s to be recruited at middle staff level. These staff trained in association with private formed personnel assumes autonomous administration of CMS (centre medicaux social). The idea behind is to be able to have one CMS by town.
As for the electricity utilities they are deserved by the center (even though the sources come from those communities) and local agencies assume after sales services. The water is managed regionally base on the availability of source of water to be treated and redistributed.
The public functions are not fully decentralized since the archives are not computerized. For some public administration formalities such as retirement papers or insurance payment, it is require to the local populations to travel to the center.
There are still some lacks in Togo implementation of decentralization, and that is why a new policy framework has been formulated under the APRODEC project. They central government signed partnerships with ENA (école nationale d’administration) that is the national school of administration to incorporate decentralizations trainings in their programmes. There is going to be technical assistance at local level by an international volunteer. Associations of community developers have been instituted and proper financing of the roots projects. Other activities comprises of seminars on decentralization, promotion activities on decentralization, inter-active radio and TV programmes on decentralizations, training of archivists, and there is a new convention that have been signed with ENA (école nationale d’administration).
There are studies going on about the feasibility of the piloting of technical and financial operations and management of fundamentals services with collectivities, and also about the co-financing or financing of actions and operations predestined.” – Nampoukime Donam Barnabo – Lomé, Togo