The desire of every government is to timeously release all statutory payments to the respective agencies. However, this is not the case for successive governments. Various governments has instead not been able to pay these funds as required by law on time. One such payment which is always in arears is the District Assemblies Common Fund.
Article 240 of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that, Ghana shall have a system of government and administration that is decentralized. To achieve this objective, the state has been divided into Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies governed by the Local Government Act 2016 (Act 936). It is at this administrative level that development is carried out for the benefit of the general public.
To ensure that the assemblies achieve their developmental goals, Article 245 of the 1992 Constitution and Sections 245 and 246 of Act 936, has provided for the establishment of a Fund called The District Assemblies Common Fund. It is important to note that these frameworks allows parliament to annually allocate not less than 5% of total revenue of Ghana into the Fund, which, as a requirement, is to be paid on quarterly basis so that the assemblies are enabled to undertake their developmental programmes. It is the duty of the Finance Ministry to release funds to the Common Fund Administrator so that it is distributed among the assemblies.
Even though the state is aware of this statutory payment, allocation into the Common Fund is usually delayed and sometimes in arrears. For instance, checks from the assemblies shows that the last quarter of 2020 is yet to be paid to the Assemblies as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2021.
The consequences of the nonfulfillment of paying such statutory funds to the district assemblies are that the Assemblies cannot carry out any developmental programmes for the benefit of the people. The resultant effects are poor road networks, lack of social amenities, lack of social services such as provision of education, healthcare, security, etc. It must be emphasized that continuous delay in the release of the common fund to the assemblies leads to several challenges in the operations of the assemblies.
Since the district assemblies are the levels where real development takes place, government must work with a sense of urgency in releasing the common fund as stipulated by law to enable programmes and activities to go on progressively in the various assemblies. The laws governing the administration of the fund must be adhered to in order not to deprive the assemblies with financial resources in their efforts to bring development to the people.
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