District assemblies mismanaging funds for persons with disability — Report
Research has established that district assemblies are mismanaging funds allocated to persons with disability (PWDs) from the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
Two per cent of the DACF has been allocated to PWDs, according to the PWD Act and policies.
The research, conducted by the Social Enterprise Development Ghana (SEND-GH), a civil society organisation, ascertains that the District Fund Management Committee (DFMC) set up by the district assemblies to disburse and manage the funds are violating some guidelines for its implementation.
The research report, launched in Accra yesterday, also established misuse and abuse of funds by beneficiaries.
Contrary to the guidelines, generally DFMC meetings are held depending on the necessity of particular situations rather than the quarterly meetings recommended by the guidelines for the purpose of disbursing allocations for the quarter.
Again, there are no systems in place to prevent district assemblies from borrowing from the fund.
According to the report, this has resulted in situations where the assemblies continue to borrow from the fund and in some instances do not pay back because the disbursement of the funds lacks effective monitoring and checks and balances.
The report said there was evidence that in some instances monies had been borrowed without the knowledge of the DFMCs.
The report attributed the situation to signatories of the account, comprising only the district coordinating director and the district finance officer of the district assembly.
It explained that the composition of the signatory made it easier for the assemblies to fall on the fund’s account without the knowledge and explicit approval from the DFMC.
The research report recommended the need for the DFMC and all its stakeholders to increase the monitoring of the disbursement, management and beneficiary usage of the funds.
It recommended that there was the need for the DFMCs to conduct proper institutionalised assessment of applicant’s proposals before approval.
It called for an additional signatory that could either be a member of the DFMC or from the Ghana Federation of Disabled (GFD) for the purpose of preventing the district assemblies from abusing the fund.
The Country Director of SEND-GH, Mr George Osei-Bimpeh, in his opening address, said the research was funded by the European Union and necessitated by calls from constituents questioning SEND-GH as a policy research institution on what it was doing concerning the DACF.
According to him, SEND-GH will engage all stakeholders to facilitate addressing discrepancies in the management and usage of the fund established by the research.
Mr Osei-Bimpeh said the absence of proper enforcement of the guidelines would flaw the general objective of the fund.
The introduction of the guidelines in 2007, according to him, was supposed to be a relief to PWDs who, prior to that time, had been unable to access the fund.
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