Accra, Feb 19, GNA – The provision of annual figures rather than actual quarterly releases of District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) by officials of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to members is making tracking of the disbursements very difficult.
The Institute for Democratic Governance’s (IDEG) Monitoring of Funding Inflows in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, Prestea Huni-Valley and Shama Districts showed that disparities exist in the amounts of DACF allocated and actual amount received by the three MMDAs.
This shows the problem of deductions by the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund from the approved amount remained a challenge.
The project dubbed: ‘Strengthening Civic Participation and Social Accountability in Local Governance, ‘ is being implemented by IDEG, with funding from USAID, under the Ghana Local Governance and Decentralization Programme.
The Report, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, said in 2013 the deductions from the DACF for the three MMDAs were quite alarming.
It said for Shama District Assembly, the deductions were as high as 25 per cent. The approved amount was GH¢1,112,567.61 and actual amount received was GH¢833,847.47 and total deductions amounted to GH¢279,032.33.
It said the deductions consisted of Fumigation GH¢ 133,000, National Association of Local Government Authorities of Ghana dues GH¢5,432.33, and sanitation improvement package GH¢140, 600.00
For the Prestea-Huni Valley District Assembly, deductions accounted for 27 per cent of the District’s DACF. The approved amount was GH¢1,108,313.00, actual amount released was GH¢ 814,540.37 and deductions amounted to GH¢277,478.50.
The deductions consisted of fumigation GH¢ 133, 000, NALAG dues GH¢3,787.25, and Sanitation improvement GH¢140,600.00
For Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Assembly, deduction was 21 per cent. The approved amount was GH¢821,829.00 and actual amount released was GH¢652,629.00
According to the Report, it was established that most of the members of the assemblies lacked the capacity to appreciate financial issues and had no knowledge of the deductions, making it difficult for them to track the actual disbursements.
It said the District Development Facility (DAF), which is a performance-based grant system, was introduced by the government to bridge the financing gap and to improve the performance of the MMDAs.
However, it was established that the last DDF was disbursed in 2014 to the MMDAs, based on the annual performance assessment under the Functional and Organizational Assessment Tool for 2012.
It said the DACF served as the main source of funding for project implementation and public service delivery in most MMDAs and as a result, when the DACF delayed, projects implementation and public delivery in the districts were hindered.
For example, baseline monitoring visits conducted by IDEG and GIFNets in October 2014 in the Prestea-Huni Valley, Tarkwa-Nsuaem and Shama districts revealed that the implementation of many projects in the 2014 Annual Action Plans of the districts had stalled.
This was because as at that time, the fourth quarter of 2014, no disbursement had been made for 2014.
This prompted IDEG to undertake advocacy activities, urging the Ministries of Finance, and Local Government and Rural Development, and the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, to release funds to the MMDAs.
The report said while IDEG was not imputing any irregularity in all these instances, it strongly recommended improving the dissemination of information on funding inflows to MMDAs.
It said the Administrator of the DACF should make available information on quarterly disbursement of the DACF to the MMDAs via the newspapers, and also via their website.
It also recommends that to facilitate citizens’ undertaking of funding to MMDAs and their engagement with MMDAs, the MMDAs should give quarterly figures disbursed to the Assembly members rather than cumulative figures.
It urges MMDAs to also provide information on the deductions to citizens through the representatives of the assemblies and to increase sources of revenue inflows, while MMDAs work extra hard to meet the FOAT requirements to access the DDF.
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