The Honourable Member of Parliament for the Odododioodio Constituency, Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has praised the Revenue Mobilization initiatives of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, appealing to the House for the approval and acceptance of their Budget for the 2018 fiscal year.
The vociferous Minority Member of the august House and Ranking Member on the Committee of Local Government and Rural Development indicated that, Rural Housing can only be effective when the Local Government outfit is strengthened.
He said, Housing is one of the essential needs of the country, with the increased housing deficit of the country making it even more needful now.
According to Hon. Vanderpuye, it is only when the Ministry is well resourced, whiles their financial and logistical needs meet, that’s when the Ministry’s Rural Housing agenda can be met.
Seconding the Motion for the approval of the 2018 Budget allocations for the sector, the Ranking Member added that, in the disbursement of the 2017 Budget, the government failed to release Six Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (Gh¢ 600,000.00) of the allocations to the Ministry, and wondered whether the government will truly allocate the 2million Ghana Cedis (Gh¢ 2,000,000.00), that was allocated this year for the sector, when it failed to honor the release of the Six Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis Gh¢ 600,000.00 earmarked for the sector last year.
Making reference to the proverbial adage, Hon. Nii Lantey said “if the animals that are sent out for grazing have not returned, you don’t send more”, literally meaning, if the government could not release the supposed small amount of Gh¢ 600,000.00 last year, he couldn’t possibly increase it to that much (Gh¢ 2,000,000.00) this year.
He also revealed that, the Ministry is so trapped financially that the project that the previous government started five years ago (the Ministry’s rehabilitation), is still stagnant, with metals hanging in every corner of the Ministry.
Hon. Vanderpuye argued further on the creation of new Districts and Regions, that the government should take a clue from the statement of the former United Nations Secretary General H.E. Kofi Annan, that “the creation of new districts and regions not the panacea to our problems, but the strengthening of existing ones and making them economically viable”.
“Existing districts are already wobbling, especially the ones created earlier, and suffering from lack of resources to enable them stand on their feet.
That means, by creating more districts and regions, we are rather compounding the problems of the Ministry”. He revealed.
He added that the intention to create more districts, elevate Metropolitan areas and the creation of new regions might be agreeable to an extent, but it is imperative that government prepare adequately to finance these new Districts and regions in order to make them stand on their feet and realize the purpose of their creation, and not allow them to suffer the deficiencies the earlier ones have suffered over the period.
He also expressed worry that, the government intends to take part of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to finance the Agricultural projects of its government, when the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture is huge, not even considering the huge donor funding the Ministry of Agriculture has.
Similarly, He said, despite the huge budget allocation for the Ministry of Education, the government is taking part of the little funds allocated to the Ministry of Local Government to finance the School Feeding Program.
He however, expressed his satisfaction of the revenue mobilization initiatives of the Ministry, and sees that as key, moving forward, because the sources for the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) are limited in such a way that, the various Assemblies suffer a lot, with the few realized also sinking through mismanagement and loopholes.
Reiterating the Ministry’s effort in putting mechanisms in place to ensure that, as much as possible, the human factor in revenue mobilization and the financial operations of the sector is reduced drastically, and also asked the support of the various Districts in that regard.
He also reminded the government that, with their well-touted accolade of less dependence on foreign aid (donors), the government will take the initiative of the Ministry into serious consideration and offer the needed support.
Hon. Nii Lantey therefore asked the House in seconding the Motion for the Approval and Acceptance of the Budget of the Ministry to do same.