District Assemblies in the Northern Region have failed to submit on time monthly trial balance statements or returns to the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), to enable it to monitor and coordinate their activities.
As at June this year, only Kpandai, Savelugu/Naton, Nanumba North, West Gonja, West Mamprusi, Bunkprugu/Yunyoo, Chereponi and the Zabzugu/Tatale Assemblies have submitted their May trial balance statements to the RCC.
Mr. Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister, disclosed this at the RCC meeting that assessed the performance of the region and planned to tackle challenges, in Tamale on Tuesday.
The Regional Minister said that Karaga, Yendi, Central Gonja, Sawla/Tuna/Kalba, Tamale and Nanumaba South Assemblies had submitted their returns for April while Gushiegu, Tolon/Kumbungu, East Gonja, East Mamprusi, Saboba and Bole Assemblies had made available their returns for March.
Mr. Mabengba said that late submission of returns had made the monitoring and tracking of transactions in the region difficult.
He called on Chief Executives of the various Districts “to strictly adhere to part VII Section 75 of the financial memoranda, which requires assemblies to submit their financial documents at regular monthly intervals to their beneficiaries within 15 days after the ensuing month to which they relate.”
Mr. Mabengba expressed dissatisfaction at the assemblies performance based grant system, which enabled them to access additional funds from the District Development Fund (DDF) where access to additional development funds was linked to performance through the Functional and Organisational Assessment Tool (FOAT).
He said that the FOAT identified weaknesses such as poor filling system, overspending, poor revenue generation, lack of proper data on revenue and poor implementation of capacity development plans in the assemblies, which prevented them from accessing the funds.
Mr. Mabengba said that training workshops were being organised for assembly members to help address challenges facing the assemblies.
He said that notwithstanding this initiative, there was the need for the assemblies to organise capacity building training for members.
Mr. Mabengba said “Let me at this point caution that key personnel in the assemblies who fail to perform, preventing the assembly to qualify for the DDF, would be sanctioned. The leadership of the non-performing assemblies should rise up to their responsibilities”.
He expressed gratitude that results of the second round performance assessment of the Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies in 2009, based on activities of the 2008 fiscal year, revealed that 17 out of the 20 assemblies in the region had fulfilled the minimum conditions.
He said it was an improvement over the first assessment in which only six of the assemblies satisfied the conditions.
Dr. Akwasi Twumasi, Northern Regional Director of Health Services, told the meeting that there had been a 96 percent reduction in guinea worm cases in the area this year as compared to last year.
He indicated that only six cases were recorded in the first quarter of 2010 as against 146 cases during the same period last year and said that all these cases were contained.
Dr. Twumasi announced that the construction of Polyclinics at Janga in the West Mamprusi District, Tatale in the Zabzugu/Tatale District, Chereponi in the Chereponi District, Kpandi in the Kpandi District and Karaga in the Karaga District, was progressing and hoped that by the end of this month the projects would be handed over to the authorities.