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A recent CDD-Ghana Local Government Survey has highlighted the lack of accountability from district assemblies to Ghanaians.
The survey said an overwhelming majority of Ghanaians consider MMDAs as lacking financial accountability and efficiency in the usage of the district assembly common fund (DACF) and internally generated revenue (IGR).
According to the survey, “a huge majority of citizens say they never had explanations from their MMDAs on how DACF was spent (88%), how it was used to address key issues in the district (87%), how local taxes, rates, fees and fines were spent (88%) nor used to tackle development needs of the district (87%).”
The lack of accountability is of concern given MMDAs are regularly cited for financial malfeasance in Auditor General reports.
The 2020 Auditor-General Report said deficiencies noted in the operations of the Assemblies created avenues for some officials to mismanage funds and resources of the Assemblies to a financial value of approximately GHS 77.14 million.
In general, 75 percent of Ghanaians rated MMDAs performance in service delivery and revenue mobilization over the past five years as being “very or fairly” bad.
The same amount of Ghanaians said MMDAs responded “very or fairly” to the development challenges of communities.
In addition, 78 percent of Ghanaians said the MMDAs performed “very or fairly badly” in soliciting inputs from community members into annual district development plans.
One of the changes Ghanaians appear to want, according to the survey, is full participation of marginalised groups “particularly women (89%), youth (89%), and persons with disabilities (77%)” in local governance processes.
“Most Ghanaians want reservation of a number of seats in MMDAs for persons with the required knowledge and skills (91%); persons from marginalized groups – women (87%), youth (85%); and persons with disabilities, 78%),” the report outlined.
The survey further noted that 71 percent of Ghanaians think traditional leaders should play a role in the administration of MMDAs.
“An appreciable majority (65%) of respondents “strongly agree” or “agree” that traditional leaders have a better appreciation of the local political issues than ordinary people and should therefore have greater influence in MMDAs’ administration,” the survey explained.