A Local Government expert, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, has advised the newly created Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) to ensure proper management and utilisation of revenue to help finance plans and development projects in their respective districts.
“Proper management and utilisation of the revenue collected will encourage the citizens to pay their tax,” he stated and admonished the assemblies to develop revenue improvement action plans and establish different revenue mobilisation task forces to assist in the mobilisation of revenue.
That, he explained, would enable the to compare the work of each of the task forces in order to map up better strategies to collect more revenues for their assemblies.
Dr Osae, who was speaking to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a capacity-building workshop for assembly members of the newly created MDAs at Techiman in the Bono East Region, encouraged the assemblies to educate residents on the need to honour their tax obligations.
The workshop which was organised by the Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA), in collaboration with the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralisation (IMCCod), brought together about 50 assembly members from Berekum West and Pru West in Bono and Bono East regions respectively.
They were taken through topics such as revenue profiling and mobilisation and by-laws, re-branding of the MMDAs, meeting procedures and district assembly committee system, plan and budget disaggregation, boundary re-demarcation and education, human resource management and change management among others.
Avoid uneconomic collection
Dr Osae advised the assemblies to avoid uneconomic ways of mobilising resources such as cost of collection exceeding the revenue mobilised, commissions and salaries of revenue collectors, outsourcing Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, transport and fuel, among others.
He encouraged the various assemblies to find innovative ways of mobilising revenue by identifying the revenue locations and the taxpayers at their respective areas to enable the assemblies to trace them for the collection of the revenue to complement central government transfers.
Strategy for mobilisation
Dr Osae profiled the revenue sources and options available to the assemblies, diversification of revenue sources and concentrate energies in well-performing areas and formation, equipping and encouraging the functionality of revenue mobilisation team as some of the strategies for mobilising revenue.
He urged them to build the capacities of functionaries and adopt prompt prosecution of both tax defaulters and the revenue collectors who mismanage the revenue.
Dr Osae advised the assemblies to develop comprehensive street naming and house numbering schemes, starting with the GhanaPost GPS, as well as using the area councils as points of revenue mobilisation.
He mentioned unreliable socio-economic data, inadequate public tax education, linkage between resources and service delivery, low capacity of revenue collectors and weak capacity for revenue forecasting among others as some of the challenges facing resource mobilisation.
Dr Osae advised the assembly members to appreciate the political and administrative leadership of their MMDAs and understand the alignment and allegiances within the system in order not to step on toes, as well as appreciate the already established linkage and quickly understand the organisational culture of the assemblies.