A consortium of four Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have jointly unveiled a new project to support Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in their revenue mobilisation and utilisation drive.
The implementation of the STAR Ghana funded 21 months project dubbed “Deepening Transparency and Accountability in the Collection and Utilisation of Internally Generated Funds (IGF) in the Upper West Region” is being led by Sustainable Action through Voluntary Establishment (SAVE-Ghana).
Action for Sustainable Development (ASUDEV), Capacity Enhancement and Community Support (CAPECS) and Community Development Alliance (CDA-Ghana) are the rest of the NGOs partnering in the implementation of the project across six MMDAs including; Sissala East and Wa Municipalities, Sissala West, Wa West, Nandom and Wa East Districts.
Mr. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister in launching the project noted that recent reports suggested that the IGF of most MMDAs was below 10 percent of the total funds they received in a year.
He said the phenomenon weakened the concept of decentralisation, stressing that for MMDAs to be truly decentralised, then they must be in the position to generate their own funds for the development of their areas.
Mr Issahaku said the low level of revenue generated internally could be attributed to a number of factors including; the lack of education among the citizenry on the importance of paying taxes, the type of taxes at the district level and where to pay.
The Deputy Regional Minister therefore used the opportunity to appeal to MMDAs to sensitise the public on their fee fixing resolutions so that all would understand and be aware of the amounts and the right procedure to pass when paying.
“Revenue collection can only be effective and efficient with the availability of data on all rateable items and persons in the district”, he said.
Mr Issahaku noted that the perception of corruption at the MMDAs had resulted in many not paying their taxes, saying it was therefore important that such perceptions were cleared through ensuring transparency and accountability in the collection and utilisation of internally generated funds and all other public funds.
He noted that the “Deepening Transparency and Accountability in the Collection and Utilisation of Internally Generated Funds (IGF) in the Upper West Region” have come at the right time and that it was also in line with the President’s vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid”.
Mr. Dintie Tahiru Sule, Executive Director of SAVE-Ghana said the current system of revenue mobilisation provided fertile grounds for leakages, adding that citizens were not also well informed on the need to pay taxes and were not also motivated to pay because of lack of awareness on the allocation and distribution of the fund.
He said the inadequate accountability mechanisms in the collection and management of the funds at both the Area Councils and the MMDAs levels created room for abuses, hence the essence of the project.
He said the project therefore sought to ensure citizens were fully aware of the process and were interested, committed and empowered to demand for transparency in the use of IGF and to promote its efficient utilisation in the project districts.
It will also contribute to an increase in the revenue of project districts through reduction in revenue leakages.
The project which cost GHC688,853.50 is expected to adopt three implementation strategies including social audit, mobile/web-based applications and alliance building to achieve its set objectives.