Political interference affecting revenue mobilisation of MMDAs

money-cashA lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies, Mr Felix Agyei Amakye, has attributed the low revenue generation by Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to political interference, unreliable database and inadequate consultation.

He has therefore called for credible database, good forecasting and target setting, and public education for effective revenue generation to bring about sustained development.

Mr Amakye, who was addressing members of the Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (SPEFA) group of the Adentan Municipal Assembly (AdMA) at their Fourth Quarter Forum at Adentan in the Greater Accra Region, spoke on ‘Strategies for Revenue Mobilisation’.

He said in spite of funding from Internally Generated Revenue, District Assemblies Common Fund, and the District Development Facility and Citizens’ Development Grants, the MMDAs still face challenges in their revenue generation.

He therefore called for other strategies such as stakeholder collaboration, proper street numbering and reliable property addresses as well as proper valuation and revaluation of their rates and fees.

These, he noted, would ensure that as many persons and businesses as possible are reached to pay their levies and taxes to generate enough revenue to undertake more development projects.

Touching on the roles of citizens in revenue mobilisation, Mr Amakye urged the citizenry to inform the appropriate authorities of any impropriety by assembly staff or residents, participate in public education programmes and cooperate with MMDAs by paying the approved rates and fees.

He advised youth committees and associations, traditional authorities and all relevant stakeholders to participate in consultative processes for fee fixing, take part in public education programmes, support the assembly in drafting and implementing bye-laws on revenue collection policies, and be proactive and take action while the wrong things were being done.

“Don’t wait until people have erected illegal structures before you take action to remove or destroy them,” he advised the citizenry.

In spite of the challenges, Mr Amakye encouraged the SPEFA group to not only demand accountability from duty bearers but to continue supporting them in tier revenue mobilization efforts.

Madam Nora Ollennu, Chief Executive Officer of Intervention Forum (IF), organisers of the event, in her address made available to the media, observed that while Ghana had achieved significant political decentralisation over the last two decades, it had not e matched up in terms of fiscal decentralisation.

This, she said, had made it critical for MMDAs to work diligently towards diversifying financial resources and generating sustainable and supplementary funding to ensure that planned agenda could be carried out to the benefit of the citizenry.

Madam Ollennu, who is also the Local Capacity Builder and Focal Person for the Adentan Citizens’ Group, said the process had not been rosy for MMDAs, who were dogged by several challenges.

She therefore encouraged the SPEFA group to effectively complement the process and ensure that the assembly achieved its targeted revenue.

“It is only by doing this that we can truly hold public officials to account,” she added.

Mrs Sarah Agbey, National Coordinator of SPEFA, observed that development is not about infrastructure alone but also about connecting leaders to the people.

She said the AdMA had taken the SPEFA activities seriously and thanked the IF and the citizenry for their participation in the forums, urging them to apply the knowledge they had acquired at the forums and pay their levies and property rates.

Mrs Agbey advised the youth to refrain from fighting and engaging in other illegal activities for politicians during this year’s general election, adding: “We need leaders who will help develop Ghana.”

During an open forum, the group decried the poor road network and sanitation, erection of illegal structures, inadequate database and lack of general amenities in the Municipality, among other issues.

Mr Bernard K.P. Sakyiama, Deputy Director of the AdMA, in response to the concerns raised by the SPEFA members, said the AdMA is currently charging flat rates for properties because the Land Valuation Board is yet to evaluate these belongings.

He said the AdMA lacks adequate staff to collect levies and taxes but expressed the hope that personnel on the ground would work extra to reach out to the people, and encourage the citizenry to voluntarily walk in and pay their taxes.

Responding to complaints that there is confusion over the numbering of houses, Mr Sakyiama stated categorically that the AdMA had not given out any numbers.

He gave the assurance that the Assembly would soon embark on a scientific process of numbering houses and structures.

Source: GNA

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