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21.11.2004 Regional News

Parliamentary Corps attend workshop

By GNA

Swedru, (C/R), Nov. 21, GNA - The Central Regional Minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze on Saturday said the press had an important role to play in educating the public on the true tenets of democracy by drawing attention to any misdirection of resources meant national development. Speaking at a two-day workshop for the Parliamentary Press Corps on the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) in Swedru, the Minister said it was important that the press did everything within its power to sustain the principles f democracy

Some Members of parliament (MPs), District Chief Executives (DCEs), officials from DACF Administrator's Office, local government practitioners and members of the Parliamentary Press Corps attended the workshop.

The Office of DACF Administrator organized it under the theme: "Searching For Development In Ghana, The Contribution of The Press Corps.

He said that there had been reports on the misapplication of the common fund, including numerous audit reports that touched on embezzlement.

"All these problems arise because all of us fail to study the details of the guidelines which act as the point of reference for the application of the fund".

Mr Andrew Arthur, Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps touched on the misappropriation of the fund and urged the media to serve as the watchdog of the society and to ensure that directives based on parliamentary approval was given, for the disbursement of the fund were strictly adhered to.

"We have all been witnesses to the fight between DCEs and party members, who flock the residences and offices of DCEs to ostensibly pressurise them to give them what they term as their share of the common fund."

Mr Arthur said there was the need to educate the media to tackle some of these critical issues affecting the disbursement of the fund. The Administrator of DACF, Mr Joshua Magnus Nicol, said the Constitution mandated Parliament to make provision for the allocation of not less than five per cent of the total Government tax revenue annually to be paid into the DACF Account.

This, he said, had given the assemblies a firm assurance of reliable flow of financial resources.

"But it appears that this situation, however, has made most assemblies to virtually neglect their responsibilities in revenue mobilization at the local level".

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