This year may go down in history as a lost year for many Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as they are yet to begin implementing projects and activities captured in their composite budgets for the year.
The MMDAs did not receive their District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF) allocations for the last quarter of last year, neither have they received any allocation under the DACF this year even though the third quarter of the year will soon be over.
For MMDAs such as Karaga, Kumbungu, Mion, Savelugu, and Saboba in the Northern Region, their plans as captured in their 2021 composite budgets to support agricultural production are in limbo as the farming season gradually inches to a close without any support to their farmers or the agricultural sector because they have not received their DACF allocations to support such activities.
This came to light at a 2021 regional people’s assembly held in Tamale with a focus on the 2021 National Budget Statement.
The event, organised by the Partnership for Good Governance (PAGG), was to disseminate the contents of the 2021 National Budget Statement, the citizens’ budget, and the composite budgets of the five assemblies (Savelugu, Karaga, Mion, Kumbungu, and Saboba) where the Empowerment for Life Programme (E4L) is being implemented to equip citizens and relevant stakeholders with information that promotes local governance.
The PAGG is a joint initiative of civil society organisations in development in the Northern Region, and it is led by the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) and supported by the E4L.
The E4L seeks to work with MMDAs in the region and other relevant stakeholders to build a society that supports the actions and rights of deprived communities to overcome poverty and suffering more effectively.
The 2021 composite budgets of the Savelugu, Karaga, Kumbungu, Mion and Saboba Assemblies sought to establish demonstration farms, train farmers on post-harvest losses, register farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs to receive subsidised fertilisers amongst others.
Participants at the regional people’s assembly included Coordinating Directors, Planning Officers and Presiding Members, representatives of community-based organisations amongst other stakeholders from the five assemblies.
Mr John Mahama Yabdow, Presiding Member of the Kumbungu District Assembly lamented about the situation, saying, no subsidised fertiliser was supplied to farmers in the district, adding, “Even farmers, who had money to buy the fertiliser could not get it to buy. We will remain poorer next year.”
Participants were unanimous that there was a need to increase local revenue generation to position the assemblies to deliver critical development projects for their people.
Mr Philip Gmabi, Technical Advisor on Policy and Governance at GDCA, said similar fora would be held at the local level to continue the discussions related to the plans and budgets of the assemblies to create awareness amongst the people as well as how they should support in local revenue generation and demand accountability from the assemblies.