Local government experts are challenging the citizenry to demand accountability from local assemblies on the utilisation of taxes.
Experts say the non-availability of policies to compel assemblies to strictly use locally mobilised revenue for the benefit of people in their catchment area has resulted poor management of internally generated funds.
Dean of Studies and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, Eric Oduro Osae, wants Ghanaian participation in the management of assembly’s funds.
He was speaking at a conference in Kumasi to draw strategic guidelines to optimise internally generated funds in Ghana.
The Ministries of Finance and Local Government and Rural Development with the support of partners are collaborating to develop a comprehensive strategic framework to guide Internally Generated Fund implementation efforts.
The framework would focus on four thematic areas such as: sources of local revenue, mobilisation and collection of revenue, utilisation and service delivery and tax payers rights and responsibilities.
The two zonal conferences are intended to provide a platform to deliberate on the key issues affecting internally generated funds in Ghana.
This means a better understanding of context of local governance reforms for revenue generation would be provided while key policy, legal, institutional, administrative and capacity issues are reflected upon.
A national conference is expected in May this year to validate ideas culminated in two zonal conferences in Kumasi and Cape Coast.
Mr. Oduro Osae tells Nhyira Fm the policy will remove bottlenecks in internally generated fund mobilisation and management, especially the use of IGF in recurrent and administration expenses.
It would also help streamline operations of assemblies to be more development oriented as people hold them accountable.
According to Mr. Oduro Osae, tax payers would be empowered to trace where their money goes.
“The difference is that the framework is now pushing the assembly to use more of the IGF to do development projects where people can see — instead of the previous arrangement where they(assemblies) had the right to use the money generated anyhow, any-where”, he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has lamented administrative constraints affecting the size of internally generated funds.
Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum says weak leadership and capacity at various assemblies are some of the challenges facing IGF service delivery.
“The reason for the relatively low percentage of internally generated funds is that the landscape is plagued with structural, administrative and systematic inefficiencies which undermine the ability of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAS) to fully optimise the opportunities for realising revenues available to them.
“One of the key challenges bedevilling the MMDAs is the weak leadership and capacity at most of the MMDAs to effectively and efficiently improve IGF for services delivery”.
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