The much touted Ghana’s rule rule of law has been thrown to the dogs under a lawyer President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Today, the operations of the 261 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies across the country which are supposed to be the backbone of Ghana’s development have been denied of Constitutionally mandated statutory fund by Nana Akufo-Addo and his cousin, Mr Ken Ofori Atta.
Article 252 (2) of the 1992 Constitution provides that: “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall make provision for the allocation of not less than five percent of the total revenues of Ghana to the District Assemblies for development, and the amount shall be paid into the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) in quarterly instalments.”
The Administrator of the DACF after receiving the funds will then disburse accordingly to the sharing formula proposed by Parliament to all the assemblies.
But due to the blatant disregard for rule of law on the part of President Akufo-Addo, he has failed to make releases any funds to the DACF Secretariat for one whole year, even though the release of the funds is Constitutionally mandated statutory fund to the Administrator of the DACF for onward disbursement to these assemblies.
It was based on this disheartening issues of non release of statutory funds to state institutions which in turn affecting the development negatively at the local that has infuriated the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, thus their call on Nana Akufo-Addo-Bawumia led government to settle all arrears owed to the DACF.
Addressing members of Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) at one of the conference rooms within the plush Job 600 office Complex near Parliament House on Thursday, October 21, 2021, the Deputy Ranking on the Committee, Mr. Benjamin Kpodo accused the President Akufo-Addo of misappropriation and misapplication of the constitutionally created fund by piling up arrears and thereby rendering the assemblies impotent.
He explained further that, aside denying the DACF of the needed funds for the discharge of its constitutionally mandated duties to the assemblies, the amounts due to the DACF were under-provided for and owed to the fund for 2017 and 2018.
For example, the government introduced the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, under which the Common Fund was capped to retain some funds for the central government spending.
This act of omission he hinted deprived the fund of the full amount of money which should have been accrued to it.
The Deputy Ranking on the Committee, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho Central Constituency in the Volta Region revealed that the Nana Addo led government was indebted to the DACF to the tune of over two billion Ghana Cedis.
“The Ministry of Finance is very heavily indebted to the DACF. The amount has run to about two billion Ghana Cedis (GHC2,000,000.00+). This is made up as follows: 2019 – GHC700 million (per Auditor-General’s report); 2020 – GHC587 million; 2021 – GHC884 million (Estimates for only 1st and 2nd Quarters),” he alleged.
The Minority Group has therefore called on the government to pay all the arrears due the DACF for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.
It has also served notice that they will have no option than to head to court if the government does not keep within a maximum of one-month to release funds after the end of each quarter as stipulated by the 1992 Constitution.
The Deputy Ranking was empathetic that government has not as at Thursday, 20th, October, 2021 released any amount of money to the DACF for onward distribution to the MMDAs for a whole calendar year.
“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 an amount of GHC434,291,958.21. But no money has been paid to the DACF as of today,” Mr. Kpodo disclosed.