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10.04.2006 General News

Workshop on District Assemblies Common Fund held

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Kumasi, April 10, GNA - Nana Boakye Danquah, Chairman of the Local Government Service Council, has said that the prudent management of scarce local government finances should be of more concern than calls for more resources for the districts.

He said local government financing had always been inadequate but what was worse was the fact that the little given to the districts had not been properly managed because of poor staffing and mismanagement at some district assemblies.

According to Nana Boakye Danquah, 23 districts in the country would be benefiting from a 70-million dollar facility under the Millennium Challenge Account and the big challenge was how to get the right calibre of personnel at these districts to prudently manage this huge resource.

Nana Boakye Danquah was speaking at a two-day sensitisation workshop on the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) organised by the Office of the Administrator of the Fund for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at Kumasi.

He urged the districts not to see the DACF as a substitute for internally generated funds, but rather as a supplement and work towards improving internally generated funds in the event that the country one day woke up to find out that it could no longer provide the DACF. Nana Boakye Danquah also urged the districts to put "value for money" on development projects to ensure that the basic needs of the people were met in terms of the provision of quality social amenities, since 75 per cent of governance was done at the local level with 15 per cent by central government.

Mr Stephen Balado Manu, MP for Ahafo Ano South and Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, MP for Lawra/Nandom, also sharing their experiences on the use of the MPs share of the DACF, tasked the media to help educate the public about the real use of the MPs share of the funds. Mr Balado Manu said there was the need to correct the erroneous impression that MPs went about carrying their portion of the funds and distributing it as a personal gift to their constituents.

Dr Kunbuor on his part said the MPs share of the funds were public funds, which were also subject to various processes such as auditing and procurement rules and therefore needed to be used judiciously.

He said MPs needed to understand the development needs of their constituencies before investing their share of the funds in the right projects.