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30.11.2007 General News

MPs Common Fund needs legal framework


Mr. Eric Osae Oduro, Lecturer at the Institute of Local Government on Thursday called for a legal framework that would set out clearly the modalities of disbursing MPs Common Fund and the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to minimize the friction between the two fund operators.

The framework should assign powers and responsibilities to the different levels of the use of the two funds.

Mr. Oduro was speaking at a joint forum organised by Public Agenda, a weekly newspaper and the Right and Voice Initiative Limited on the topic; "Decentralization in Ghana: MPs share of the District Assemblies Common Fund and the Challenge of Development at the Grassroots."

He said there was the need to strengthen the financial base of District Assemblies as recognized under Section 252 of the Constitution.

He said currently, there was a lot of public outcry about the use of the Constituency share of the DACF.

"There is no legal basis for Members of Parliament to partake in the disbursement of the fund and the disbursement of the DACF had been creating frequent friction between MPs and District Chief Executives; each one trying to politicise development projects within various district assembles and this might even change the name from DACF to Constituency Common Fund," he added.

He said, "inspection, supervision, monitoring and evaluation arrangements will ensure that all parties abide by the laid down rules and regulation".

Mr. Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament said the time has come for various bodies to appreciate the fact that, the share of the MPs Common Fund was judiciously used for development.

He said reservations about the fund and the call for its abolition was wrong, adding; the various criticisms about the MPs share of Common Fund should be rejected.

He noted that there was rather the need to enact laws that would check the use of monies given to the MPs and how they were spent to ensure transparency in the system.

He noted that there were instances where MPs visited their various constituencies and they were bound to give out some money for certain developmental projects; "in these cases you need money to do that".