Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have access to more money than corporate entities listed on the Ghana stock exchange.
The funds include District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Stool-Lands Revenue, Highly Indebted Poor Country Fund, Special Transfers, Grants such as the District Development Fund (DDF) and Urban Development Fund and Loans of up to GH¢2,000 and Assemblies Internally Generated Funds .
However the Assemblies are not giving the public value for money.
Mr Eric Oduro Osae, Dean of Studies of the Institute of Local Government Studies , said this during a five-day training session on: “Local Government Public Financial Management and Social Accountability Tools and Processes,” for members of the Media Network on Social Accountability in Accra.
He urged members of the Network to spearhead a vigorous campaign to demand accountability from the Assemblies.
Mr Osae said by law the MMDAs were under obligation to account to the citizens for their stewardship and so people must demand accountability from them.
“Social accountability counts when people ask relevant questions,” he noted.
Mr Osae said many MMDCEs would be found deficient when quizzed on the vision and mission of their Assemblies.
He said it is therefore important for media practitioners to be knowledgeable and understand the relevant local government laws, regulations and processes to be able to engage officials of the Assemblies on their performance.
Mr Kwame Owusu Bonsu, Co-ordinator of the DDF and Urban Development Grant, said Ghanaians have not been enthusiastic about the performance of the MMDAs despite the resources available to them.
He said such displeasure came up in the media and on public forums that focused on the Assemblies.
Mr Bonsu said it was for this reason that in 2008 the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development introduced the Performance Based Grant System (PBGS) to cure “the usual way of doing things”, in the Assemblies.
He said under the PBGS the Assemblies were assessed on eight “non-negotiable” indicators and benchmarks which satisfied the criteria were given more resources.
Mr Bonsu said the PBGS has been able to kick the Assemblies into action.
Mrs Irene Messiba, Co-ordinator of the Social Accountability Project, advised media practitioners to be constructive in the way they approach officials of the Assemblies over matters for which they are seeking information.
The workshop was under the auspices of the Local Government Capacity Support Project.
It is a World Bank and Government five-year performance based project under which 46 Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies would be assessed and rewarded under a $175.5 million package.