The Minority in Parliament has bemoaned the delay by the Finance Ministry in releasing money from the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) to the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Local Government Committee, Benjamin Kpodo, stated that for more than a year, funds have not been released by the Finance Ministry to the DACF.
Mr Kpodo said he suspects a misapplication of the Fund by government, adding that the Ministry has not shown any commitment to expediting the release of the funds.
“The Ministry of Finance is very heavily indebted to the DACF. The amount has run to about GH₵2 billion. In 2019, the amount owed is ¢700 million, which is per the Auditor General’s report. In 2020, the Ministry of Finance is owing to the Common Fund over ¢587 million and in 2021 where nothing has been paid.
He added, “For the whole of 2021, not even a pesewa has been paid to the DACF as we sit here. We have been informed that the release letter was issued for the first quarter for an amount of ¢434,291,958 but no money has been paid to the DACF as of today. Therefore, arrears have piled up for 2019, 2020 and 2021.”
The Ho Central legislator said the delay in releasing the funds could be attributed to plots by the ruling government “to deprive the DACF of the needed funds for the discharge of its constitutionally mandated duties.”
“Indeed, the DCAF is not working today, having been rendered impotent. The monies due the Fund have not been given to the fund to enable it to carry out its mandate as abundantly outlined by the Constitution and the relevant act.”
The Minority is therefore asking the Ministry to distribute the funds amongst the various MMDAs on the basis of the formula approved by Parliament and also comply properly with the directives set by the Supreme Court.
This, according to them, will ensure that disbursement of funds is made in quarterly instalments as enshrined in Article 252 of the 1992 Constitution.
“We ask the Ministry of Finance to provide the Constitutional 5% of total revenue to DACF before making budgetary allocations to all MMDAs.”