Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, has called for public education on the guidelines and purpose of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to the clear misconceptions associated with it.
He said such the education should also address reasons for variations in the cost of similar projects such as classroom blocks in different locations.
Mr Ampofo was delivering the keynote address at a two-day workshop on the utilization of the DACF for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps in Ho.
It was under the theme, “The District Assemblies’ Common Fund, Good Governance and Accountability.”
Mr Ampofo observed that the Fund had become a source of conflicts between the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives and various social groups whose expectations of the Fund were at variance with its guidelines.
He said agitations by some youth groups and traditional rulers for the removal of some MMDCEs were the result of the misconceptions about the purpose of the fund and the refusal of the Chief Executives to bend to the dictates of such influential social groups.
On the allocation of part of the Common Fund to respective Members of Parliament, Mr Ampofo said he would not recommend the termination of the practice, which aimed at addressing some of the developmental challenges.
He said the disbursement of the fund to the MPs must not generate conflict between the MMDCEs and the MPs if the guidelines were adhered to for purposes of transparency and accountability.
“At least, let’s play by the rules of the game because it is the MMDCEs who must answer the audit queries,” he stated.
“Let’s have mutual respect for each other,” Mr Ampofo told the MPs and the MMDCEs regarding their relationship over the use of the Fund.
Mr Joseph Amenowode, Volta Regional Minister said the country must strive to overcome the challenges associated with the DACF so that its full impact of national development would be meaningful.
He said the disbursement of the DACF was a major issue in the recent constituency primaries of the National Democratic Congress because people misunderstood its purpose.
“Common Fund is not as common as people think,” he explained. Some people would want to topple you because they suspect you are not doing the right things with the fund,” he remarked.
He said this underlines the importance of topics of the workshop.
Captain George Nfodjo, (rtd) MP for Ho Central, who presided over the opening ceremony, said the Common Fund has won both approval and disapproval for many MMDCEs and MPs and helped achieve many of the country’s social development goals.
Topics treated at the workshop included, “The formula for the disbursement of the DACF- Challenges and the Influencing Factors”; “Challenges of Fiscal Decentralisation in Ghana”; “The Difficulties in the Access and Utilization of the Disability Fund - the way Forward.”
Others were the “Role of MPs, MMDCEs and the Media in ensuring judicious use of the Fund”; “Expected Relationship between the MPs and MMDCEs in the Assembly System”; “Controversies in the Disbursement and Utilization of the MPs Share of the Fund”; and “Undertaking Even and Balanced Development of the District Assemblies Common Fund.”
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