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11.02.2004 Regional News

District Assemblies urged to raise revenue

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Cape Coast Feb. 11, GNA- District Assemblies have been urged to set up revenue generating mechanisms to enable them to generate more funds to meet numerous demands from the public.

The administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) Mr Joshua Nicol, who made the call, expressed concern about the assemblies over dependence on the DACF, and regretted that most of them have forgotten that the fund was set up to augment revenue they generate locally.

This was contained in a speech read for him at a day's workshop on the "Impact of the District Assemblies Common Fund on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) at Cape Coast on Tuesday.

The workshop, jointly organised by National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) the DACF and the Netherlands Development Cooperation (SNV), was attended by district chief executives, presiding members, budget planning officers and assembly members.

It aimed at introducing the GPRS document to the participants and share experiences on other strategies aimed at reducing poverty, and to assess the impact of the DACF and on the GPRS.

Mr Nicol said in the 10 years of the establishment of the fund, a total of 1.5 trillion cedis, have been committed to improving education in the form of construction of school blocks as well as for the improvement of health, water and energy supply, to ensure good governance and in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He said his office, was also concerned with monitoring and evaluation which runs through all aspect of the GPRS document, and that people give out much resources but do not give the same prominence to how these resources are utilized.

He said the DACF is also very much particular about monitoring and evaluation and therefore sets aside two and half per cent to the various regional coordinating councils for that purpose.

He noted that financial resources have been one of the most important component in the implementation of the GPRS and that was why the DACF must be considered as very important when it comes to implementation, since it is the main source of finance to all assemblies in the country.

He said his office would strengthen its monitoring activities and continue with its spot checks, "so that we all get the best out of the little we have".

Nana Ato Arthur, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) District Chief Executive, and the first vice-president of NALAG, in his welcoming address, mentioned conflicts and disputes, lack of education, unemployment, bad customary and traditional practices as some of the factors accounting for poverty in Ghana.

He urged the government to "exhibit real political and financial commitment" and adopt "pro-poor planning" programmes and strategies at all levels to fight poverty.

He also called on the assemblies to study the GPRS document comprehensively, to enable them to fashion out the requisite programmes to accelerate socio-economic development in their areas.

Mr Bernard Joe Appeah, a consultant with Pentax Management Consultancy firm in Accra, said the DACF, has helped reduce poverty, but stressed that projects being executed under the fund, should be done in consultation with the beneficiary communities.

He said the GPRS, should also not be seen as just being aimed at giving out money to the poor, but geared towards promotion of entrepreneurship.

He therefore, tasked the various assemblies to ensure that the monies received under the GPRS are used to the benefit of the beneficiary communities.

MR Kish Ato Odum, SNV representative, urged the various assemblies and all stakeholders to critically study the document, and pledged SNV's support for poverty reduction programmes in the country.

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