Business News of 2014-08-02

Stop setting low revenue targets - Minister tells MMDAs

The Volta Regional Minister, Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso, has observed that revenue generation is very low in the region because municipal metropolitan, and district assemblies (MMDAs) continue to set low targets.

The total revenue achieved by the 25 MMDAs stood at GH¢5,206,897.15 out of a target of GH¢6,893,535.73 for the 2013 financial year.

The minister said most of the assemblies intentionally or unintentionally set very low targets such as GH¢50,000 or GH¢60,000 so that they could not be blamed for not achieving higher targets.

In most cases, some of the assemblies were unable to meet the target and those who met them were only able to pull small margins.

That, she said, was affecting development in the region as there was not enough money to complete ongoing projects in the districts because the assemblies could not only rely on their common fund.

The minister was addressing Municipal Chief Executives (MCEs), District Chief Executives (DCEs) and heads of departments in the region at a Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council meeting in Ho. The minister, who was reviewing the performance of the MMDAs called on the MCEs and DCEs to take a look again at their budgets to achieve higher returns.

Low targets

“The targets are very low and this makes revenue collectors relax after exceeding the targets with small amount of money. Next time when you want to set your targets, contact me,” the minister told them.

She also attributed the poor level of revenue mobilisation to rampant misapplication of the common fund on recurrent expenditure, unwillingness of the assemblies to cede some revenue items to the area councils, inadequate logistics for revenue collectors, monitoring and supervision by management.

Fuel smuggling

The Volta Regional Minister also bemoaned the rate at which fuel and cocoa were being smuggled from the region to neighbouring , Togo.

According to her, the region was currently experiencing an upsurge in cocoa and fuel smuggling into neighbouring countries and this was affecting the economy of the country.

Difficult task

Admitting that it was a difficult task to combat the illegal activity because of the number of fuel stations that kept on springing up close to the borders, Ms Ntoso asked the political and administrative heads to take measures to nip those dangerous activities in the bud before it got out of control.

There had been strong suspicion that fuel stations in the border towns could be contributing to the smuggling activities.

The minister ,therefore, appealed to authorities to do backgrounds checks before issuing licences to operators to help curb fuel smuggling in the region.

Engage in PPP projects

The DCEs and the MCEs, as well as head of department were enlightened about the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concept by Mr Kofi Agbo, a representative of the Ministry of Finance who encouraged them to engage in PPP projects to the increase number of developmental projects in their areas.

The Ministry of Finance, he said, would support them with the conceptualisation of their intended projects to be able to benefit from a loan facility provided by the World Bank for that purpose.

The Regional Environmental Health Officer, Mr Francis Abotsi, stated that the assemblies did not have legal landfilled sites for refuse collection and that was a big challenge to efforts to improve sanitation in the region.

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