Mr. Felix Amakye, lecturer at the Institute of Local Government Studies, Legon has urged members of Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies (MMDAs) to be active participants in revenue mobilization, generation and community action planning programmes.
This, he said, would enable them to be conversant with how funds are generated and used for the development of their communities.
Mr. Amakye was addressing members of the Awutu Senya East Municipal Assembly (ASEMA) and Awutu Senya District Assembly (ASDA) at separate capacity training forums on revenue mobilization and community action planning at Ofaakor in Kasoa and Awutu Beraku, both in the Central Region.
The forum formed part of a series of capacity training programmers organised by Intervention Forum (IF), a Non-Governmental organization, under its Voice for Change (V4CP) project intended to empower citizens to be active participants in the development of their communities.
It brought together key office officials of the two assemblies, assembly members, zonal and unit committee members, traditional authorities, religious leaders, civil society and community-based organisations.
Speaking on Revenue Mobilization and Community Action Planning, Mr. Amakye said it was incumbent on duty bearers to explain to their assembly members and other stakeholders, especially at general assembly and town hall meetings, all issues affecting the development of the communities.
He touched on the importance of revenue in service delivery, sources of revenue in Ghana, causes of low revenue mobilization and the roles of stakeholders in revenue mobilization, among other issues.
Mr. Amakye then explained to the participants the roles of citizens in revenue mobilization and the roles of MMDAs in optimizing revenue generation, strategies for its mobilization.
Outlining the importance of revenue in service delivery, he said the assemblies need it to finance development projects, pay allowances and salaries of assembly staff, sitting allowances, maintenance costs and the running of official vehicles.
He listed the sources of revenue as inter-governmental transfers, internally generated fund, and specialized transfers such as timber royalties, stool lands revenue, and mineral royalties.
Mr. Amakye explained however that political interferences, inefficient and ineffective methods of revenue mobilization inadequate human and logistical capacity and cumbersome procedures for publishing by-laws and fees stifled their activities.
Others he said were; inadequate public education and sensitization, perceived inadequate transparency and accountability in the utilization of resource to key stakeholders, and misapplication of funds, among others.
He also identified the key stakeholders in revenue mobilization as assembly and unit committee members, traditional authorities and religious leaders, civil society and community-based organisations, finance and revenue mobilization teams and taskforces.
The rest are finance and administration sub-committees of the assemblies, and taxpayers and beneficiaries of MMDAs activities.
Mr. Amakye cautioned that, for the MMDAs to mobilize more revenue, it must embrace citizenship participation and social accountability for them to create ownership of it.
On participatory governance at the local level, he urged stakeholders to participate in the deliberative function of the district assembly by the publication of a draft by-law or fee-fixing resolution in the mass communication before the commencement.
Madam Nora Ollennu, Chief executive Officer (CEO) of Intervention Forum, in her address, noted that while Ghana had achieved significant political decentralization over the last two decades, it had not matched up in terms of fiscal decentralization.
“This has made it highly critical for MMDAs to work diligently towards generating sustainable and supplementary funding to ensure that planned development agenda can be carried out to the benefit of local authority,” she said.
She added that, to do that, the roles of individual local leaders, such as assembly members and unit committee members was critical.
“Hence, we have scheduled this learning session so we can all appreciate the existing gaps with respect to our revenue mobilization and community action planning processes, the improvements needed and the contributory roles we can collectively play to strengthen these processes,” she stated.