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The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) has urged the government to address the long-standing challenge of delay in the release of funds to the District Assemblies Common Fund.
The Minority Caucus on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government disclosed that the Fund for the year 2021 is yet to be credited.
They have thus threatened court action against the Finance Ministry if it continues to delay the release of funds due the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
In an interview with Citi News, the Dean of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Fred Agyarko Oduro said tackling this challenge will bring the needed development at the local level.
“There have always been issues with the release of the DACF. There remains a challenge whether the right amount are given to the assemblies. There are also challenges of people withholding aspects of it, and that has been a long-standing problem which spans from when the Fund was established.”
“In the last year, there have been reports of some assemblies not receiving funds and if it is so, then it means that there is a concern. If this remains a challenge, the assemblies will feel the impact of not receiving the funds”, he emphasized.
The Minority in Parliament believes the government owes the District Assemblies Common Fund 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.”
What the law says
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.