The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour, has stressed the need for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to intensify revenue mobilisation, especially from internally generated funds (IGF), in order to reduce their over dependence on central government transfers.
He, therefore, encouraged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to personally spearhead the crusade to improve on revenue generation in their respective assemblies.
Mr Darfour made the call at the opening ceremony of the Eastern Regional 2020 composite budget hearing at Akyem Oda for five municipal and district assemblies drawn from the region.
The assemblies which attended the event, aimed at deepening decentralisation and national development, were Birim Central Municipal, Birim South, Achiase, Akyemansa, and the Asene-Manso-Akroso districts.
The regional minister urged the assemblies not to use all their IGF on goods and services but should utilise at least 20 per cent of the total amount on projects to demonstrate to the taxpayers that the rates and fees collected were ploughed into district level development.
A call to be civic
Mr Darfour cautioned revenue collectors of the assemblies to be civic in the discharge of their duties by refraining from using insults, abusive or provocative language, intimidation and other forms of antagonism against the taxpayers.
He emphasised that the implementation of the composite budget had not been possible without challenges, especially with the flow of funds to departments of the assemblies.
“The challenges facing us are as a result of developments on both global and domestic front, which have not helped in the generation of sufficient revenue for development”, Mr Darfour stated.
He said the government was aggressively pursuing a number of measures to ensure the achievements of the nation’s fiscal policy objectives.
The regional minister said in addition to the medium term fiscal policy objectives of consolidation and addressing short term vulnerabilities, the government was also focused on reducing the fiscal deficit and eventually improving the fiscal space to finance development.
Encouraging the citizenry
The Head of Fiscal Decentralisation Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Ebo Amuah, advised the assemblies to encourage the citizenry to pay basic rates, which were integral to the IGF.
In in a welcome address, the MCE for Birim Central, Ms Victoria Adu, said to ensure speedy implementation of planned projects and programmes there was the need for the Ministry of Finance and the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund to minimise the delays usually associated with the release of the fund.
That, she said, would go a long way to provide the assemblies with financial capacity to deliver on their respective mandates on time.
Other speakers at the ceremony, chaired by the Safohene of Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area, Obrempong Gyamfi Saforo Kyereh, included Mr John Donkor, the Regional Budget Analyst, and the Krontihene of Akyem Kotoku Traditional Area, Obrempong Gyamfi Saforo Kyereh.