The Minority Caucus in Parliament has asked Stakeholders to hold the Administrator of the District Assembly’s Common Fund (DACF) for her directive to the various Assemblies to allocate about 80% of their Common Funds to government’s flagship programmes.
The Minority is of the view that the directive is in total breach of Article 252 (1), (2) and (3) of the 1992 Constitution which established the Fund and its mode of application per Act 936 Section 126.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament, Benjamin Komla Podo, Member for Ho Central revealed that Parliament in March 2018 approved the formula for the disbursement of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for the 2018 fiscal year pursuant to Article 252 (3) of the Constitution.
They further revealed that, a total of Gh¢1,812,144,435 in appropriation no 2, Act, 2017 was appropriated for disbursement over nineteen (19) line items; significant among them being Significant among them being…
- Transfers to other legal entities – Youth Employment Agency (10%), National Youth Authority (5%) and National Disaster Management Organisation (1.5%) – amounting to GH¢299,000,665
- Allocation to People With Disabilities (3%) amounting to GH¢54,364,333
- National Projects – Education, Seed Capital for newly created District Assemblies and Waste management – (11.59%) amounting to GHS210,000,000
- Direct Allocations to MMDAs (50.25%) amounting to GHS905,999,982
(All these received Parliamentary approval as required by law.)
They stated that they expect the 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in Ghana would be given a total of Gh¢905,999,982 in 2018 for their developmental needs.
It was further revealed that, the said directive required the various MMDAs to allocate 40% of their fund amounting to GH¢362,399,992.80 to School Feeding programme, Gh¢181,199,996.40 representing 20% to the Nation Builders Corp, 20% of their fund amounting to Gh¢181,199,996.40 to Planting for Food and Jobs and the remaining Gh¢181,199,996.40 used by the Assemblies for their local projects and needs.
They also disclosed that the above directive was not contained in the approved formula by Parliament, meaning, the directive does not meet the legal requirements for the application of the Fund, which is being done at the blind side of parliament, saying “the directive is illegal and restrictive”.
They also added that, when the various flagship programmes of the government appered before the House, the Committee of the whole indicated that, “the amount left for the Fund to disburse to the various MMDAs is woefully inadequate.
The shortfall will seriously impair the planned activities of the MMDAs who needed these funds to complete the numerous projects being undertaken by the Assemblies”.
The Committee was further of the view that, “In order not to defeat the purpose for which the DACF was established, the Committee recommends that, the Ministry of Finance should strictly adhere to the provisions of the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947) and not further offload programmes unto the already capped funds of the Fund”, per Parliamentary Debates-Official Report -Thursday 22nd March, 2018. Col. 2963 and 2964.
In a statistical terms, the directive re-allocates GH¢724,799,985.60 (80% of GH¢905,999,982) for Central Government “priority” projects leaving only GH¢181,199,996.4 (20% of GHS905,999,982) for discretionary spending by the MMDAs, adding that on the average, every MMDA will have only GH¢713,385.81 for its development projects.
The issue of the Common Fund disbursement has been sent to the Supreme Court of Ghana for interpretation. The minority revealed.
They accordingly demanded action by the government to reverse the directive and hold the administrator accountable for same illegality.
Story: Frederick E. Aggrey