Ghana Politics

Government owes Common Fund over GH¢2 billion – Minority

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The Minority in Parliament believes the government owes the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) over GH¢2 billion.

According to the Minority, the figure is made up of disbursements that should have been paid into the DACF from 2019 to 2021.

Addressing the press on the matter on Thursday, October 21, 2021, the Member of Parliament for Ho Central, Benjamin Kpodo, said the delay in releasing monies to the DACF is adversely affecting the work of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) nationwide.

“The Ministry of Finance is very heavily indebted to the DACF. The amount has run to over GH¢2 billion. In 2019, the amount owed was GH¢700 million, per the Auditor General’s report. In 2020, the Ministry of Finance was owing to the DACF over GH¢587 million. In 2021, where nothing has been paid, the estimates for the first and second quarters only, based on their [government’s] own figures, the amount they are owing is GH¢884 million. When you add this, it is indeed over GH¢2.1 billion, which the Ministry of Finance is owing to the DACF.”

The government is mandated by law to provide 5 percent of the total revenues of the country for the development of MMDAs.

The statutory amount is expected to be paid into a fund designated for district assemblies.

The 1992 constitution, under article 252, imposes an obligation on the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund to present a formula to Parliament for the distribution of monies allocated by Parliament for the Assemblies every year.

The Fund is then distributed among the Assemblies on the basis of a formula proposed by the Administrator of the Fund and approved by Parliament.

Mr. Kpodo, who is also the Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Local Government and Rural Development Committee complained that the Akufo-Addo government has not released any money to the DACF this year.

“For the whole of 2021, not even a pesewa has been paid to the DACF,” he complained.

He said the Minority Caucus will resort to court if the Finance Ministry continues to delay funds due to the District Assemblies Common Fund.

“If the government does not heed our calls, we are serving notice, that we will head to court again,” the MP said.

He also urged the government to ensure that payments to the DACF are made not later than a month after the end of any quarter.

“We are calling on the government to change its way of determining when the money is due. Within a maximum of one month after the end of each quarter and accordingly, release same to the DACF,” the Ho Central MP.

The MP contended that the government was capable of computing the common fund within the proposed period.

“There is no reason why the GRA cannot calculate the total revenue collected in any quarter within one month,” Mr. Kpodo said.

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