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GH¢1.9 Trillion Common Fund Disbursed   
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A total amount of GH¢1.9 trillion has so far been disbursed from the District Assemblies’ Common (DACF) to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for development projects throughout the country since 1994.

The Common Fund Administrator, Kojo Fynn, who disclosed this at two-day training workshop organized by the DACF for the Parliamentary Press Corps in the Volta regional capital, Ho, added that the Fund also disbursed over GH¢548.35 million in 2011 to the MMDAs.

He noted that the establishment of the DACF has contributed positively to the decentralization programme, pointing out that the “Fund has been the most important and reliable revenue base for the MMDAs in Ghana.

He cautioned the MMDAs to desist from borrowing monies meant to support People With Disabilities (PWDs) in the country for their projects.

Mr. Fynn issued the warning following complaints that some Assemblies had been borrowing monies from PWDs’ Fund, which was set up by the DACF to, among others, support the income generating activities of individual persons with disabilities as a means of economic empowerment.

The Common Fund Administrator stated that he will withhold disbursements to any Assembly that will borrow monies from the PWDs Fund.

The workshop, which was on the theme: The District Assemblies’ Common Fund, Good Governance and Accountability, brought together all Members of Parliament and Municipal and District Chief Executives in the Volta region to brainstorm on the disbursement and utilization of the DACF.

Touching on the challenges of the Fund, Mr. Fynn said there were delays in the approval of Common Fund Formula, starting from the submission of the proposed formula to cabinet, securing of Parliamentary approval and submission of supplementary budgets by MMDAs.

According to him, the system of allowing all government revenues to be paid into the Consolidated Fund before statutory payments is a major source of the delay in the release of the Common Fund.

This, Mr. Fynn pointed out, could be a major disadvantage to the Assemblies’ development effort as most of the MMDAs depend on the DACF for their development resources.

The Common Fund Administrator said there should be a fast-track approval process for the formula to ensure that Parliament approves it by January each year.

“A simultaneous transfer of the fund into the Common Fund would eliminate the delays since funds will be readily available,” Mr. Fynn further suggested.

The Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps, Andrew Edwin Arthur appealed to government to consider increasing the Common Fund allocation to MMDAs from 7.5 percent of the total national revenue excluding loans to 10 percent.

“As I advocate for more funds for the MMDAs, it is important to state here that measures should be put in the place to intensify monitoring and evaluation. I urge the Administrator of the Fund and his operational staff to be up to this task as always to ensure that Ghana as a country will have value for money,” Mr. Edwin Arthur entreated.

He thanked the Common Fund Administrator and his office for organizing the workshop for the press corps, which he observed would enable journalists to assist in proper utilization of the DACF.

Mr. Arthur implored media practitioners to be circumspect in their reportage in this election year as they possess powerful tools to make or unmake the country.

“As fourth estate of the realm, let us avoid situations where our activities can affect the integrity of the electoral process,” he urged.
Source: Awudu Mahama, Ho

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