A Former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD), Mr Kwadwo Agyei-Darko, has called on the government to ensure efficient implementation of the decentralisation concept to enable the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies (MMDAs) become catalysts for accelerated development of various communities and the country in general.
Mr Agyei-Darko, who was speaking at the launch of the operation five per cent common fund for assembly members initiative at Odumase in the Sunyani West District of the Brong-Ahafo Region said efforts should be made to make MMDAs more relevant in the country’s development agenda.
Proposed assembly member’s common fund
The proposed five per cent common fund for assembly members was launched by the Presiding Member (PM) of the Sunyani West District Assembly, Mr Bernard Oduro Takyi, to ensure massive development in all electoral areas across the country.
He is calling on the government and Members of Parliament (MPs) to consider granting approval of the five per cent of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to be allocated to assembly members to support their constitutional mandate and operational activities.
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The Assembly Members’ Common Fund, if accepted, will be provided through a formula by the Office of the Common Fund Administrator.
The proposed initiative is expected to be presented through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to Parliament and when approved, will be backed by the necessary legal framework for its implementation.
It will be managed by a fund management committee made up of a five-membership committee chaired by the PM of each assembly.
Other members expected to be part of the committee include, the assembly engineer, planning officer and two appointed assembly members, who would serve for only two years.
In addition, the internal auditor of each assembly shall subject the projects and programmes of assembly members under the fund to a thorough and vigorous scrutiny.
According to the proposal, the assembly members would submit their annual action plan of not more than two projects with each assembly member having a limit of financial quantum he or she could assess.
Under the arrangement, no assembly member would be denied access to the fund, except members who had misappropriated, misapplied or misspent their previous allocations.
The fund committee would be expected to vet all projects that would be submitted by each assembly member and have oversight responsibility to ensure value for money.
Mr Agyei-Darko admonished the various assemblies to be more particular about the type of budgets they approve, explaining that they were responsible for drawing their revenue and expenditure.
He urged them to ensure that their budgets reflected the aspirations, expectations and the developmental needs of the people in their localities.
“In drawing the budget, reasonable amount of revenue should be set aside for community-initiated projects”, he advised, adding that communities through the unit committees, area and urban councils and traditional authorities should be encouraged to come up with their development priorities.