District Common Funds At 10%
Parliament on Tuesday approved a new formula for the distribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) meant to spearhead development at the district level.
Parliament recommended that the total allocation of DACF should be increased from 7.5% to 10% of the total revenue of the country in order to ensure meaningful development and growth at the local level of governance.
An amount of GH¢1,149,287,000 has been approved by Parliament this year for the fund as against GH¢821,665,000 last year.
Parliament said the intention of the government to increase district assemblies from 176 to 216 was to speed up development at the local level, hence its decision to peg the district assembly common fund at 10% to ensure that more money gets to the district assemblies for development projects and programmes.
The approval of the formula had been a big bone of contention between the minority members and the majority members before parliament went on recess on March 27, and the emergency recall by the Speaker was to enable them come to a consensus and approve the formula.
Bulk of the money meant for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) is to go into priority intervention projects or programmes like school feeding, waste management and the sanitation module of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), people with disability, training and funds for cured lepers.
Other areas will be educational and health infrastructure.
Parliament condemned some MMDAs that finance projects directly from the office of the Administrator of the Common Fund.
“Some district assemblies resort to financing projects directly from the office of the Administrator of the Common Fund by issuing letters indicating that resolutions had been taken by the assemblies concerned requiring the office of the Common Fund to make payments for those procurements on their behalf,” parliament observed.
Parliament pointed out that such practices genuinely prevent assembly members from exercising full oversight over those procurements.
According to parliament, this practice has also led to some district assemblies registering negative figures when monies are eventually transferred to the assemblies for development projects thereby denying the assemblies the needed funds for development programmes.
Parliament therefore called on the Administrator of the Common Fund not to honour such requests from district assemblies to directly finance projects from the office of the Common Fund again.
Parliament also called on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance to find alternative source of funding to finance priority intervention projects so that resources released by the Common Fund would go directly to the decentralized units of the assemblies to enable them address local problems since a chunk of the common fund money is pumped into priority intervention projects.
Most of the minority members spoke against the habits of some assemblies that use the common fund money for recurrent expenditure like paying allowances of assembly members during assembly sitting, saying the district assembly common fund money is meant for concrete development projects and not any frivolous expenditure.
By Thomas Fosu, Jnr