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DCEs under pressure to deliver

By Fred Yaw Sarpong with files from GNA
Majority of Ghanaians, especially the youth from various District Assemblies across the country are calling on the President John Dramani Mahama to change their District Chief Executives (DCEs) for poor performances.
On Accra based radio station, Adom FM political show programme ‘Dea Mehu’ on Monday May 13, 2013, most of the callers and those who sent short messages services (SMS) called on the President to change their DCEs.
Out of 219 SMS messages received by the host, Afua Pokua, 208 messages, representing 95% were against majority of DCEs in the country.
Mostly, the inhabitants in those communities complaint about poor access roads, no street lights, lack of water and among other things. However, most of the complaints received centered on bad roads in their communities. Most also described their DCEs as ineffective.
George Kyei Baffour, Local Government Expert and former President of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) in an interview told the host that until DCEs are elected by the people themselves, problems will continue to exist.
According to him electing the DCEs will make them more accountable to people and they will also be careful in running the assemblies. ‘To me personally I think the decentralization is not working,’ he added.
Despite the complaints from the people Baffour stated that there are some DCEs who are doing tremendously well and need to be recommended. Even though he did not mention a particular DCE, he urged the President to take critical assessment of some of them and maintain them as well.
My main problem is the delayed distribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF). ‘It does not allow the DCEs work effectively,’ he stated.
Meanwhile, Parliament has approved a new formula for the distribution of the DACF meant for development at various district levels.

Parliament recommended that the total allocation of DACF should be increased from 7.5% to 10% of the total revenue of the country in order to ensure meaningful development and growth at the local level of governance.

An amount of GH¢1,149,287,000 was approved by Parliament this year for the fund as against GH¢821,665,000 last year.

Parliament said the intention of the government to increase district assemblies from 176 to 216 was to speed up development at the local level, hence its decision to peg the district assembly common fund at 10% to ensure that more money gets to the district assemblies for development projects and programmes.

The approval of the formula had been a big bone of contention between the minority members and the majority members before parliament went on recess on March 27, and the emergency recall by the Speaker was to enable them come to a consensus and approve the formula.
Bulk of the money meant for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) is to go into priority intervention projects or programmes like school feeding, waste management and the sanitation module of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), people with disability, training and funds for cured lepers.

Other areas will be educational and health infrastructure.

Parliament condemned some MMDAs that finance projects directly from the office of the Administrator of the Common Fund.

“Some district assemblies resort to financing projects directly from the office of the Administrator of the Common Fund by issuing letters indicating that resolutions had been taken by the assemblies concerned requiring the office of the Common Fund to make payments for those procurements on their behalf,” parliament observed.


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