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Business News Tue, 21 Mar 2017

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GHC321.8 million Local Government Ministry budget approved

Beginning from April 1 to December 31, 2017, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will be operating within a budget of GH?321,830,698.00.

This follows the adoption and subsequent approval of the Report on the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development on the 2017 annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development by the Parliament of Ghana.

However, the approval of the budget estimates did not come without concerns from the Minority NDC Caucus.

Vice Chairman of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Kwasi Boateng Adjei, in presenting the Committee’s report to the plenary gave the ministry’s outlook for 2017, key amongst which include;

1) Strategies aimed at resolving district boundaries disputes in the country to ensure co-existence and improve revenue mobilization by the affected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). These strategies include the implementation of the Benin Committee’s Report on District Boundary Disputes;

2) Provide formal training for 1,500 youth in technical and vocational education;

3) Train 450 Technical Instructors on TVET Reforms by August 2017;

4) Complete the construction and rehabilitation of 101 feeder roads and also rehabilitate 67 small Earths Dams in rural communities under the Ghana Social Opportunities Project;

5) Provide inputs (fertilizers, seedlings among others) to at least 4,000 farmer groups and other actors along the agriculture value chain under the Social Investment Fund (SIF)/Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP); and

6) Expand the Community Population Registration Program in 30 communities by establishing Registration Centers in 26 communities.

Out of the GH?321,830,698.00, GH?18,000,000.00 has been earmarked for compensation, representing an increase of GH?3,591,328 or 25% over the 2016 expenditure (GH?14,408,672.00). The increase in expenditure according to the Committee was as a result of the realignment which brought the Community Developments Institutes under the budget for Headquarters.

An amount of GH?1,700,000.00 has also been earmarked for the roll-out of the BRT along the Adenta-Madina-Accra Corridor. This amount, Kasapafmonline.com understands, is to be used for stakeholder engagement before the roll-out and also for signage and other road fittings and fixtures along the corridor.

No provision was made in the 2017 budget estimates to cater for the District Development Fund (DDF) which is in arrears of US$40,000,000.00.

With this, the Vice Chairman of the Committee told the House that the Ministry would not be able to draw down on the donor support under the DDF.

The Ministry of Local Government is heavily dependent on donor support. Analysis of the estimates shows that the donor component represents 85% of the total budget of the Ministry with 99% of the allocation for Assets to be funded from donor sources.

The Committee, Kasapafmonline.com understands, was informed that the donor support for the DDF will end in 2017 which may negatively impact the Ministry’s ability to realize its objectives after 2017. Worried about the situation, the Committee has urged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to liaise with the Ministry of Finance to explore other sources of funding to support its activities.

MP for Ho Central and Deputy Ranking Member of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Benjamin Komla Kpodo commenting on the Committee’s report demanded for openness in the disbursement of the donor funds under the DDF to the MMDAs to enable Members keep track of what the funds are used for by the Assemblies.

“Mr. Speaker, I think that in future a schedule should be made on how these amounts should be disbursed and into which MMDAs and the various categories of sums by the donor partners so that we can closely monitor how the funds are used,” he noted.

Hon. Kpodo also raised issues of duplication of projects on the part of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Deveopment and therefore, demanded for clarity on the subject matter.

“The talk of one-district-one-factory, one-village-one-dam’s funds have been provided for by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development while we noted that those projects have been captured under the Special Initiatives by the President’s Office. Why should it be so? he quizzed.

Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, in response to the concerns raised with regards assured the House that there is no duplication of efforts on the part of the Ministry.

“Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the House that there is no duplication. The Ministry of Local Government has been supporting the Districts – mobilizing them to respond to these initiatives – it requires logistics, traveling, works and in mobilizing the districts to respond to this, we need money and that is why we budgeted for them. So, there is no duplication.”

Source: Kasapa FM

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