Incorporate digitalisation into revenue mobilisation - Quartey urges MMDAs

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
Mr Henry Quartey - Greater Accra Regional Minister
Mr Henry Quartey - Greater Accra Regional Minister

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Henry Quartey, has urged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the region to incorporate digitalisation and automation in their revenue mobilisation chain to ensure a significant improvement in their revenue collection.

He noted that in spite of the revenue sources devolved to the assemblies, mobilisation of internally generated funds (IGFs) was plagued with inefficiencies which undermined the ability of the MMDAs to realise the full potential of local revenue.

The situation, he said, had compelled the assemblies to rely on central government transfers and funding from development partners to complement their local revenue resources.

Mr Quartey made the call in a speech read on his behalf by the Budget Analyst at the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, Mr Sammy-Lee Simpiney, at a multi-stakeholder dialogue on digitalisation of the domestic revenue mobilisation system.

The event, which took place in Accra yesterday, was organised by the Foundation of Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Held on the theme: “Leveraging automation for post-COVID reset of local economies”, the dialogue brought together representatives of the various MMDAs, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance.

Revenue collection data

Available data shows that the Greater Accra Region was able to mobilise 87.76 per cent of its budgeted revenue in 2017, 96.55 per cent in 2018, 89.17 per cent in 2019 and 90.94 per cent in 2020.

The records indicate that the region mobilised total IGF of GH¢124 million in 2017, which constituted 42.68 per cent of the national IGF collection.

The figure increased to GH¢147 million in 2018, or 42.75 per cent of the national IGF collection, and further went up to GH¢156 million in 2019, accounting for 40.13 per cent of the national IGF collection, but dropped to GH¢147 million in 2020 or 37.45 per cent of the national IGF collection.

Local economic development

Mr Quartey said although the region was doing well, more could be done, considering the number of residential and commercial properties in the region, together with new properties springing up on a daily basis.

The properties, he said, could serve as a major revenue source from property rates and building permits.

He added that the enabling environment created by the government for businesses to thrive could also serve as an opportunity for the MMDAs to engage in local economic development by encouraging the citizens to undertake micro- and small-scale businesses.

That, he said, would not only bring about economic benefits but also improve the quality of life of residents and beef up IGF inflows.

Local digitisation

A Board Member of FOSDA, Mrs Magdalene Kannae, said it had become necessary for the country to focus on a local-level digitalisation system.

She said attaining digitalisation at the national level would not comprehensively solve district revenue mobilisation and development challenge.

She noted that it had become crucial for local-level digitalisation to move at the same pace as the national agenda.

Last year, she said, the foundation commissioned a study into the impact of COVID-19 on youth business and discovered that 45 per cent of businesses were taking steps to digitalise or introduce digital tools in their operations.

She, therefore, urged MMDAs to position themselves to also digitalise to ensure that they were not left out of the digital revolution.