Asokwa Municipal Assembly to take over property rates collection - Collection poor under GRA
The members of the Asokwa Municipal Assembly have resolved to take over the collection of property rates from October this year to ensure that the assembly has enough funds to undertake its projects.
The decision was borne out of their observation that the agreement to allow the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to collect the property rates on behalf of the assembly has not yielded the desired results.
Addressing the media after a special General Assembly meeting, the Presiding Member (PM), Elliott Banor, explained that in August last year, when the staff of the assembly were in charge of collecting the property rates, the assembly raised over a million Internally Generated Fund (IGF).
However, he said, this year, since the GRA took over through a third party, Digital City Solutions, the assembly has, so far, received a little over GH¢27,000 for the same period while for the first quarter of the year, the assembly received nothing.
He stressed that over the years, the assembly has depended on its IGF to undertake physical projects. However, “given the inflow of revenue, it cannot do that anymore.”
Mr Banor said the GRA has not helped the assembly in increasing its revenue and this was contrary to the agreement.
MCE, MCD walked out
Before the resolution was passed, the assembly members walked out their Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Akwannuasah Gyimah, and the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), Samuel Owusu Mensah, from the meeting which was held to decide on the collection of property rates.
They had met to deliberate on the dwindling revenues of the assembly since the GRA took over the collection of property rates. However, the decision to ask the MCE and MCD to excuse themselves from the meeting was because they were part of those who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cede that right to the GRA. Thus, their presence could influence the outcome of the meeting.
Mr Banor explained that the action to make the two gentlemen sit out of the special meeting was to ensure objective discourse and decision.
He said aside from the decision to take over the property rate collection, the meeting also resolved to set up a revenue collection task force that would collect the revenue for it.
He said the task force would, in the meantime, be in charge of collecting the business operating permit and other fees and start the property rates from August.
He called on the residents to cooperate with the team when they came around.
In December 2022, the GRA announced that effective January 1, 2023, it would begin a partnership with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to collect property rates in the country using a Unified Common Property Rate Platform.
The Unified Common Property Rate Platform, also known as Myassembly.gov.gh, is a complete end-to-end district revenue collection and administration platform designed to enhance the collection and accounting of property rates. It is also linked to the Ghana.gov.gh payment platform.
It indicated that the platform came with a lot of benefits to property owners and ratepayers.
Some of the benefits include the elimination of cash transactions/payments to the staff of the Assembly, full automation of bill distribution, notifications and alerts to clients and payment of bills using digitised platforms such as mobile money, electronic cards and bank payments.
This was also to further drive the digitalisation agenda as well as help the assemblies to improve on their IGF through these rates.
Currently, Digital City Solutions is doing that on behalf of the GRA.