Ministry reviews guidelines on Assemblies’ Common Fund

cediThe Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has reviewed its guidelines on the utilization of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to make it more beneficial to the local communities.

Key among the review areas in the guidelines are measures to ensure that the DACF is used to address the basic needs of the people in the districts.

There would also be a standard design for projects and the streamlining of Member of Parliament (MP) projects to bring them in line with the Assembly’s development agenda.

Mr Samuel Abrokwa, the Eastern Regional Budget Officer, made this known at a capacity-building workshop for reporters  and stringers of the Ghana News Agency from the Eastern and Volta Regions in Koforidua on Wednesday.

The three-day capacity building programme which seeks to empower them to track development projects in the districts is being funded by STAR-Ghana, a multi donor pooled funding mechanism comprising DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID.

He said when the review was finalised, there would be no more differentials or variations in projects as had been the case in all the districts, since the designs would be standardized and therefore ensure uniformity in cost.

Mr Abrokwa, who was speaking on DACF, noted that copies of the Standard Designs were ready to be given to all Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) for attention.

He observed that the utilization of the Common Fund had previously been concentrated on administrative costs such as furnishing of District Chief Executives’ bungalows and offices at the expense of providing the basic needs of the people in the local communities.

Under the review guidelines, MPs’ activities would also have to conform to the Assembly’s development plan, which also implies that no MP could design his own project to be financed by the Common Fund outside the Assembly’s development agenda or plan.

Mr Oduro Osae, a local government expert who took participants through the Decentralization concept, indicated that the objective was to promote democracy and development, and was therefore an important tool to drive Ghana’s socio-economic development.

He said despite the benefits of the concept there were several issues that were militating against its implementation, and emphasized the need for the media to raise the issues that would address the defects in the concept.

Mr Osae mentioned the issue of district assemblies having the autonomy to run their  own development agenda without interference from any government ministries and the implementation of by-laws suitable to their own development, as key issues that needed to be highlighted by the media for effective implementation.

Source: GNA

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