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The Importance of the DACF

Fri, 4 May 2007 Source: GNA

A GNA feature by Albert Allotey

Accra, April 30, GNA - The District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) had been in existence for almost 14 years since its creation in 1994. Has it been achieving its desired goal of fighting poverty and improving the lives of the people, especially in the rural areas?

Mr Magnus Nicol, Administrator of the Fund, aptly answered the above question at a workshop at Koforidua, saying: "The DACF has had the greatest impact in rural areas where local sources of finance are extremely limited and needs are great."

He stated that the DACF was the most important and reliable revenue stream for the District Assemblies in Ghana.

"Without it, capital and development expenditure would be severely limited and development expenditure would remain a centralized function. "Even though we will not feel the impact in our pockets some kind of fiscal structures like, clinics, hospital, potable water, feeder roads and others are seen in our areas."

Mr Nicol, however, urged Ghanaians to question the assemblies on how they have utilized the Fund since it was their money. "You need to know how the monies have been used by the assemblies. Don't do this with anger but politely demand answers from them on their finances on projects."

The District Assemblies' Common Fund was created to meet five main objectives: Encourage local governance and deepen Government's commitment to decentralization in general and fiscal decentralization in particular as well as to promote sustainable self-help development. Complement the internally generated funds of the metropolitan municipal/ district assemblies to undertake development programmes in their areas of jurisdiction and to ensure equitable distribution of development resources to every part of Ghana. Make up development efficiencies in deprived communities and to support creation and improvement of socio-economic infrastructure in Ghana.

Dr S. K. Asibuo, Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana Business School, presenting a paper noted that monitoring and evaluation of projects had been a big problem to the assemblies. He said the assemblies did not have adequate human resource capacity particularly engineers for effective monitoring and evaluation of projects.

"The net effect of poor monitoring and evaluation is that beneficiaries of projects or services do not derive maximum benefits and there is the attendant high cost because either the project is to be done all over again or sometimes additional money must be found to rectify some of the shortcomings, thereby embarrassing Government and disappointing donors." Dr Asibuo said there was the need to institutionalize monitoring and evaluation of performance and reporting on progress of service delivery in the public administration system in Ghana adding that this would enhance the performance of the entire Public Sector to deliver efficient services.

Columnist: GNA