NATIONAL : DACF disburses over GHÂ˘1billion to MMDAs
|Local Gov’t Mins., Hon. Joseph Yieleh Chireh|| |
The government, through fhe District Common Fund (DACF), has disbursed a total of GH¢l,024,755,220.00 to the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) since the inception of decentralised policy in 1994.
Under Section 9 of the DACF Act (Act 455), the minister of Local Government and Rural development, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, determines the categories of expenditure of the approved development budget of the district assemblies.
Using the DACF guidelines, the assemblies select projects from their approved budget to match the value of its shares of the fund.
Mr Joshua M. Nicol, the Administrator of the DACF, who disclosed this at a local economic development workshop in Sunyani, the capital of the Brong Ahafo Region, indicated that in 1994 his office transferred a total of GH^ 2,619,300.00 to the MMDAs while the following year they received GH0 5,407,700.00.
The workshop, which was organised by the National Association of Local Authorities (NALGO), was attended by metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives and their co-ordinating directors, planning officers, finance and budget officers, as well as presiding members and other stakeholders from Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Zones.
He said while ¢7,803,600.00 was disbursed in 1996 the figure had risen to GH¢188, 565,425 by 2009s.
In his presentation on "The Role of District Assemblies’ Common Fund in Promoting Local Economic Development" Mr Nicole explained that, the DACF was created to encourage local governance and deepen government’s commitment to decentralisation in general and fiscal decentralisation in particular and also promote sustainable self-help development.
He added that the transfer of resources such as finance had been identified as the means without which power and competence of the MMDAs would not be effective.
According to the DACF administrator, local economic development required the creation of an environment that enabled the stimulation of new opportunities in rural and urban areas where there might be limited existing opportunities for economic growth.
Mr Nicol emphasised that local economic development programmes in the MMDAs strengthened and reinforced good governance and identified sustainable income generating opportunities for the local community, particularly for the poor which the DACF had championed.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku who opened the workshop, observed that local economic development had been accepted as a process in which partnerships between local government, community-based groups and the private sector were established to manage existing resources to create jobs and stimulate the economy of a well-defined territory.
Furthermore, he said, the concept emphasised local control, using the potential of the people, institutional and physical resources, mobilised actors, organisations and resources to develop new institutions and local systems through dialogue and strategic plans.
Indeed, Mr Opoku stressed that local economic development was seen as a pragmatic way of decreasing poverty while it was again primarily aimed at creating jobs and making the local economies grow.
Mr Kwame Agyenim-Boateng, the Brong Ahafo Regional Representative of NALAG, said the association was determined to ensure that its members created an environment that enabled the stimulation of new opportunities in the districts where there might be limited existing opportunities for economic growth.
He said, it was the believe of NALAG that if MMDA’s took local economic development issues seriously, it would help harness opportunities, employment and wealth creation, increased revenue and tax base, among other benefits.