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The Senior Presidential Advisor, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has charged Local Government Service Council to initiate plans and policies to improve the low domestic resource mobilisation by local government authorities, especially in the areas of property rate and other property related taxes.
He said the world over; decentralised revenue was one of the cardinal drivers of revenue to a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, over the years, he said most decentralised authorities had failed to take advantage of the numerous revenue opportunities available at the local level to rake in the needed revenue to improve their Internal Generated Funds (IGF), a situation which had caused most decentralised authorities to rely heavily on the central government for most of their needs.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo made the call at the inauguration of the Local Government Service Council in Accra last Monday.
The 14-member Council is chaired by Dr. David Wellington Esaw.
Other members are Mad Marian Wanda Afi Kpakpah from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development; the Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampah, and a representative from the Ministry of Education, Ms. Catherine Appiah Pinkrah.
The board also has the Head of the Local Government Service, Dr. Stephen Nana Ato Arthur; the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund, Ms. Irene Naa Torshie Lartey; a representative of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana, Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum; a representative from Local Government Workers, Mr. Samuel Donkor, and the Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Dr. Nicholas Awortwi.
Others are representatives from the National House of Chiefs, Nene Sakite II; the Civil Society Organisation, Ms. Gladys Gillian Naa Tetteh and Mr. Derry, Martin Judas Bang-Bie, Dr. Esther Oduraa Ofei-Aboagye and Rev. Mrs. Sanatu Nantogma.
A representative from the Ministry of Health is yet to be appointed.
The Senior Presidential Advisor wondered why the country was realising only 0.03 per cent of GDP from property rates and other land-based taxes as compared to its counterparts on the continent such as South Africa and Gambia, which raised 1.5 per cent and 0.5 per cent from property rates.
“We cannot be proud as local government actors with such under performance and the least you can do as a council is to turn the disturbing situation round because ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ requires improvement in our domestic revenue mobilisation,” he said.
He challenged the council to improve the situation by bringing their diverse expertise to bear.
He said in order to justify why people should continue to pay, there must be visible signs of improvement at the community level which must be commensurate with the rates paid.
Dr. Esaw, for his part, expressed gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the nomination and gave an assurance that the council would work in unity to achieve its mandate.