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08.03.2006 Business & Finance

Ministries to recover all rents lodged in RCCs, DAs Accounts

By GNA

Accra, March 8, GNA - The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has recommended to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Finance and Economic Planning to recover all rent payments lodged in the accounts of various Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs) and District Assemblies (DAs) and pay same into the Consolidated Fund.

The recommendation was made when Parliament on Wednesday adopted the Report of the Committee on the Performance Audit Report of the Auditor-General on Provision and Management of Government Bungalows. Moving the motion for the adoption of the Report, Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chairman of the Committee, said the audit revealed that rents collected by RCCs and DAs were seldom paid into the Consolidated Fund and these agencies treated the rents as Internally Generated Fund (IGF) and used it without due approval from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP).

He said in year 2000, the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Council for instance collected an amount of 37 million cedis as rent and paid into the RCCs account and used it for its activities.

The Chairman said the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) also collected 8.7 million cedis between 1999 and 2002 and paid it into the Assembly's account while the Ho District Assembly also collected 6.9 million cedis in year 2002 and failed to pay the said money into the Consolidated Fund.

The Committee recommended that the Controller and Accountant General (CAG) should strengthen its monitoring role over rent collections by departments, DAs, RCCs and State corporations to ensure prompt payment of rent.

It also said the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing (WRWH) should liaise with DAs and RCCs to retrieve all outstanding rents from defaulters.

"Further, WRWH and MOFEP should collaborate with the various RCCs and DAs to review upwards rent paid by tenants of low cost houses pending the sale of such houses."

Mr Sallas-Mensah said illegal occupation limits the effective use of the bungalows and therefore recommended that Allocation Committees intensify supervision and implement rules regarding ejections to the letter.

The Committee noted that absence of a clear policy on the allocation of bungalows has led to all manner of people and organisations occupying the bungalows.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said these comprised of Government workers, private individuals, foreigners, subvented organisations and private companies. He said the absence of a clear policy has also led to persistent rent defaults among tenants, rent payables were equally low and distortions in rents paid by people occupying similar bungalows. The Committee recommended that the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing should broaden consultation with stakeholders in preparing a comprehensive policy to govern the provision and management of government bungalows.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said the audit found that out of a total estimate of 10,630 bungalows spread nationwide, only 40 per cent of these are in good condition and the remaining 60 per cent are in various degrees of disrepair and required renovation and reconstruction in some cases. The Committee, therefore, urged WRWH to negotiate with MOFEP to set aside a percentage of rent for routine maintenance as well as pursue the timely releases of funds for its maintenance programmes. 08 March 06

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