The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has promised to take steps to ensure that the District Development Fund (DDF) which was established to grant district assemblies with additional funds becomes operational.
“The DDF has been a source of funding for the district assemblies to undertake the necessary infrastructure projects and there is, therefore, the need for government to provide the needed counterpart funding to enable the fund to operate efficiently,” she stated.
“As minister, I will take steps to ensure that this is done,” she added.
Hajia Mahama said this when she appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee.
The DDF was established by the Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD), with other development partners including the Canadian Development Agency, the Danish Development Agency, the German Development Bank and the Government of Ghana, to grant districts additional financial resources through an innovative mechanism which determines the amount of the money allocated to each metropolitan, municipal, and district assembly (MMDA).
Improving revenue base of assemblies
Hajia Mahama also mentioned that most assemblies had a lot of revenue potential but, unfortunately, those potentials had not been explored, with some of the challenges being capacity building and revenue leakage.
She, therefore, stressed the need to look at the various resource base of these assemblies with the view of developing them.
“Also, the capacity of the districts have to be built to ensure that they effectively collect and account for all the revenues collected,” she noted.
She also added that properties that were sited in the assemblies had to revalued to ensure increase in proceeds from property tax.
“As minister, I will work with all stakeholders to improve the revenue base of the assemblies,” she stated.
More funds to be allocated to assemblies
The minister also pointed out that she would be working with Parliament to ensure that more funds were allocated to the district assemblies.
She added that there were a number of deductions made from the allocations to the assemblies, something she said must be reviewed.
“There are instances where only about 33 per cent of allocated funds get to the assemblies for their development projects. We must, therefore, review the deduction list,” she stated.
MMDAs to be oriented
Mrs Alima Mahama also emphasised the need to orient the MMDAs in order to help them develop economic development policies.
She said most of the assemblies did not pursue systems that would enhance and promote economic activities at the district level and indicated that most of the MMDAs focused on service delivery programmes and did not direct their attention to developing economic development policies.
“If the MMDAs were to undertake economic development policies, the economic activities would help create more opportunities for the residents in the districts,” she said.
She was, however, hopeful that the government’s initiative to build one factory in every district would also go a long way to push the assemblies to undertake such similar ventures in order to develop their districts.