The Minority caucus on Parliament’s Committee on Local Government and Rural Development has called for the timely release of funds to the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
It said the delay in the release of funds to the 261 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) was negatively affecting the operations of the MMDAs.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the caucus said per the Auditor General's report, the Ministry of Finance was heavily indebted to the DACF to the tune of GH¢2 billion from 2019 to 2021.
The amount, it said, was made up of GH¢700 million in 2019, GH¢587 million in 2020 and GH¢884 million for the first and second quarters of 2021.
No release for 2021
“For the whole of 2021, not even a pesewa has been paid to the DACF.
“We have been informed that a release letter was issued for the first quarter for the amount of GH¢434,291,958.21. But no money has been paid to the DACF as of today, the Deputy Ranking Member on the committee, Mr. Benjamin Kpodo said at the press conference.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ho Central, said the government had persistently deprived the fund of the needed financial resources to allow it to discharge its constitutionally mandated duties.
Mr. Kpodo recalled that in June 2019, the Supreme Court, in the case of "Benjamin Kpodo & Richard Quarshiga vs. Attorney General", ruled that as a constitutional creation, the DACF could not be capped and that the receipts from petroleum sources should be included in the total revenues when computing funds due to the DACF.
Contrary to the apex court’s ruling, he said the Ministry of Finance had failed to comply with the directives of the court.
He, therefore, asked the Finance Ministry to provide the constitutional five per cent of total revenue to DACF before making budgetary allocations to MMDAs.
Mr. Kpodo explained that Article 252 (2) of the Constitution mandatorily required that money meant for the DACF shall be paid in quarterly instalments.
“Again, we see this as a ploy to retain the money due to the DACF at the centre and the Finance Ministry has failed to release funds to the DACF for several quarters over 2020 to 2021 and this is a clear violation of Article 252 (2),” he said.