General News of 2014-05-15

Blame gov’t for Accra’s refuse – Local Gov’t analyst

Local Government Analyst, George Kyei Baffour says government’s failure to release monies owed to the district assemblies can be blamed for the uncollected refuse piling up in Accra and around the country.

Refuse collection companies in Accra have refused have stopped collecting refuse generated by residents for the last month.

The companies say they are currently struggling because government has not paid them for work done for two years.

However, the Ministry of Local Government has denied owing these companies saying their contracts were signed with various local assemblies, thus they should demand their monies from them.

But Mr. Kyei Baffour in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show said, even though the Ministry is right about the contracts, it is government’s inability to release funds allocated to assemblies that is hindering payment to service providers.

He described this as “major challenge to decentralisation.’’ “As we speak the fourth quarter for the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) in 2013 is still pending; first and second quarters for 2014 are also pending,’’ he said.

He revealed that parliament has, however, approved the formula for the distribution of the fund in 2014. Mr. Kyei Baffour explained on the Citi Breakfast Show that for an assembly to be in arrears for three quarters means development is stalled.

He also revealed that since 2011 the assemblies have not received any payment for the district development (which is fund from donor partners). ‘’…not a pesewa of the district development fund has been released to assemblies; meanwhile these are donor generated resources,’’ he said.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and other Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies have complained of the lack of resources to pay contractors and other persons they owe.

The AMA is currently unable to pay private land fills site operators. Mr Kyei Baffour said the AMA and other assemblies cannot meet their obligations when government is not releasing monies meant to support them.

He said the constitution mandates that ‘’not less than five percent of the total revenues of Ghana shall be set aside for distribution to MMDAs for development’’.

He noted that government does not have an option than to honour it. He also stated that government has also made deductions from the amounts paid to the assemblies for fumigations. ‘’Government deducted money for fumigation; I can assure you no fumigations was done and huge sums of money have been deducted for more than three years.’’

Mr Kyei Baffour also accused government for making all sorts of deductions from the funds of the district assemblies. “A lot of things are happening and nobody is talking and it is affecting the totality of development across the country.’’

He bemoaned the situation where the ministry of local government has failed to let the public know that the central government is not fulfilling its obligations to the assemblies.