Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a former Local Government Minister, has said the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) has “become less and less effective as a decentralized transfer mechanism to shore up the revenues of the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) because of central government and its institutions’ gross interference in its utilization.”
He referred to a 10 per cent Reserve Fund, which was shared among Members of Parliament, the Local Government Ministry, the Regional Coordinating Council and the Administrator of the DACF, which caused a shortage of revenues to the district assemblies.
“One is not sure whether the guidelines for the utilization of the DACF are still being issued by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, but as at 2010, they were.”
“In the guidelines of that year, as much as 41 % of the 90 % (converted to 100 % after deducting the 10 % Reserve Fund) was released to MMDAs as ‘tied grants’ on what to spend their DACF on”
“With the remaining 59 %, the Ministry directed the MMDAs in which indicative sectors they must spend the fund in” Prof Ahwoi, also a Lecturer at GIMPA said.
He was speaking at a workshop for the Parliamentary Press Corps on the DACF at Ho in the Volta Region.
The meeting, organized by the Office of the Administrator of the DACF was under the theme “the district assemblies’ common fund, good governance and accountability.”
According to Prof Ahwoi, the abuse of the guidelines for the disbursement of the DACF undermined the constitutional objective and procedure of the DACF, which are that the Fund should be disbursed to the MMDAs for them to utilize for the development of their districts according to their own determined needs and priorities.
He recommended that the Parliamentary debate on the sharing of formula of the DACF should be conducted in the open on the floor of the House rather than being referred to the Committee of Whole.
By Eunice Menka