Ghanaian banks to pre-finance District Assemblies Common Fund

Ofosu Ampofo - Local Govt. Minister

A consortium of local banks, led by the National Investment Bank (NIB), has reached an agreement with the government to pre-finance the disbursement of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, who made this known yesterday, said the arrangement was the result of government’s initiative to find a payment system that would stop the delays in the system and instead speed up the development process in the communities.

“With this development, we hope to clear all outstanding arrears to the assemblies,” he added.

Years of delays by the Administrator of the DACF in releasing money to the assemblies had stalled development in many communities.

At certain points in time, the DACF was in arrears for three quarters.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, who was speaking at the opening of the first Local Government Service professionals’ conference in Kumasi, said interest rates to be paid to the banks would be about 11 per cent.

Touting the “enormous” strides the NDC government had made in bringing life to the Local Government Service, the minister said it was indicative of the seriousness the government attached to the development of the service.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo mentioned the provision of motorbikes to assembly members and the transfer of staff of the Civil Service to the Local Government Service as examples of the government’s commitment to local government development.

Appealing to the MMDAs to take interest in the operations of the sub-metropolitan, urban and zonal councils, he said the ministry was introducing stringent measures in the operations of the Districts Development Fund (DDF) and warned that sanctions would be imposed on officials whose actions and inaction would delay the qualification of their districts for the fund.

He also spoke against shoddy work by some contractors on government projects and said this year alone about 700 school buildings had had their roofs ripped off.

He entreated engineers in the MMDAs to sit up and develop time-tested technologies to withstand storms.

For her part, a Presidential Advisor, Dr Christine Amoako-Nuamah, pointed out that politicians would continue to rely on technocrats to achieve their goals.

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr K. Agyemang-Mensah, said the regional co-ordinating councils derived much of their strength from technocrats and so it was incumbent on technocrats to avoid tendencies that could derail the development process.

Other speakers included the Head of the Local Government Service, Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu, and the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Samuel Sarpong.

Source: Daily Graphic

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