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Stop Unilateral Deductions From Common Fund   
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Nana Barima Kumessy Bonsy, Jasikan District Chief Executive (DCE), has called for a stop to the unilateral deductions from the district, metropolitan and municipal assemblies' common fund.

He said the notion that the district lacked the capacity to manage certain purchases was unfounded and that decentralization should not only be administrative but fiscal as well.

Nana Barima was contributing to discussions at a forum in Ho during the consultation process for the acceleration of decentralization of administration in Ghana.

The consultation is being held countrywide to collate views on how to improve the decentralization process which started about 20 years ago with the institution of district assemblies.

He said while the role of chiefs could not be overlooked and must be made part of the process, care must be taken that the assemblies did not become de-facto "District Houses of Chiefs".

Mr Joseph Amenorwode, Volta Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Hohoe-South, said the decentralization concept was good and only needed fine-tuning.

He observed that the structure of municipalities was confusing as they geographically spread far beyond the technical expectation of a big town, which created management problems.

Mr Amenorwode suggested that the President nominated three persons for the position of district chief executive to be voted for within days of their nomination.

He said this could eliminate or reduce the influence of cabals in the assemblies.

Mr Yileh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, responding to some of the suggestions made, assured participants that the government was working to eliminate unilateral deductions made from common funds. He said in the future, only duly signed documents by the local government unit heads would warrant such deductions.

He explained that delays in the release of the common fund was mainly due to the time need for collation and calculation of appropriate percentages for deductions since the money was derived from tax revenue from different tax agencies.

Dr Esther Offei-Aboagye, Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies, said the time had come to address the challenges of the decentralization process to increase the pace of national development.

She gave some of the challenges as weak coordination, poor fiscal support and controls of some administrative and technical staff of decentralized departments from Accra.

Dr Offei-Aboagye said the process had no doubt raised the interest of governance in the district bringing more people into decision making.
Source: GNA

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