Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, a former Auditor-General, has advocated the creation of district and regional budgets as part of efforts to ensure effective fiscal decentralisation.
That, he said, would ensure each district and region received its fair share of the national cake.
“I think over-centralisation is the major contributor to the corruption that we have in our country,” Mr Domelevo said in a virtual presentation at the maiden Domelevo Accountability Annual Lectures held in Accra.
It was organised by the Centre for Social Democracy (CSD-Ghana) in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
“To ensure true and proper accountability, we need first to know the total resource envelope given to each region or district in the country,” he said.
“In other words, I am calling for a district budget, which includes the budgetary allocation for their roads, their health facilities, their schools and this district budget comes together with that of the regions to constitute the regional budget.”
Mr Domelevo noted that the regional budget together with the national institutions’ budgets would become the national budget.
“So, when we go into our budget we must know how much has been allocated to a district in Sunyani or Hohoe or those in Donkokrom or Bunkpurugu. They should know how much government has given to their district administration to care for them,” he said.
Mr Domelevo said currently, no one knew the total resource envelope available to any region or district, because the pipe through which those moneys were released were the ministries, with greater portion of the money remaining at the centre.
“Huge amounts of money are released to education but go to the schools and see. Huge amounts are released to the health sector but go the hospitals and see,” he said.
Mr Domelevo called for re-engineering of the fiscal management of the country with proper physical decentralisation to achieve set targets.
He said if the national budget was divided and every region got its share, no one would be able to steal all that was available to a particular region.
Mr Domelevo said another concern was getting into public office by politicians, adding: “The cost of the politicians coming to an office is so much that they borrow money, at times they used their own money to finance this, and these guys are not philanthropists” he said.
“They will have to recoup whatever investment or money they put into coming into office and they recoup it with interest.”
“The State can release money to the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the NCCE can create a common platform – be it television, radio or rally grounds – for all the political campaigns to happen over there and anyone who goes on his or her own during campaign should be disqualified.”
Mr Domelevo suggested a ceiling on the amount to be paid by candidates as filing fee to contest elections, saying the fees are becoming too much.
He expressed gratitude to the CSD-Ghana and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung for the lecture as it was necessary to sustain the fight against corruption.
“…I must say in all sincerity that I am humbled by naming it after me,” Mr Domelevo said.
Mr Mawuli Dake, Fellow, CSD-Ghana, said the Lecture series were to assess Ghana’s fight against corruption and honour people championing that fight, with particular mention of Mr Domelevo as showing exemplary leadership in that area.
Mr Manasseh Azure Awuni, an Investigative Journalist, who delivered the keynote address, reiterated the need for anti-corruption agencies to collaborate in the fight against corruption.