The Kintampo Municipal Assembly has been asked to promote transparency and accountability in revenue generation and expenditure via quarterly social accountability forums and town hall meetings.
This is to enable active participation of artisans in fee fixing to ensure consensus in the amount being fixed and minimize tax evasion.
The Assembly has also advised ensuring the effective functioning of client service charter as well as the business advisory centre to provide guidelines of cost minimization and profit maximization in business through capacity building training of SMEs.
These sentiments were raised during an advocacy action funded by BUSAC fund and its partners, the EU, USAID, and DANIDA dubbed “Advocacy for inclusion of artisans during fee meeting by Kintampo Municipal Assembly to increase tax revenue.”
The programme took place at the Gyasiwaa Hotel in Kintampo from 15th to 19th December 2018, where one hundred and twenty people were trained.
The advocacy action was followed by research to ascertain the extent to which artisans are included in fee fixing meetings of the Kintampo Municipal Assembly. Two hundred and thirty (230) respondents were interviewed, of which 133 persons representing 57.83% were men and ninety-seven persons representing 42.17% were women. The majority of the respondents were owners of businesses. After the research, the following findings were revealed;
- Majority of SMEs in the study area are artisanal and are dominated by male.
- More than 50% of the SMEs have registered their businesses and effectively pay their taxes.
- Majority of respondents had neither knowledge on assembly fee fixing resolution nor social accountability forum.
- There is lack of probity and accountability in the Municipal Assembly’s internally generated fund mobilization and disbursement as the research revealed 87.39% had no information on IGF.
- Participation of SMEs in fee fixing is limited in practice and there is dissatisfaction in the amount fixed by SMEs in Kintampo Municipality.
- Social Accountability forum and town hall meetings are not organized frequently by the municipal assembly under study.
- Client service charter and business advisory center are malfunctioning and the majority of respondents do not have knowledge about the existence of both the charter and the center.
It was concluded that;
- The Kintampo Municipal Assembly does not fully implement and practice participatory governance. The limitation of SMEs in participating in the fee fixing meeting of the Kintampo Municipal Assembly flaws against local government act 2016, act 936 that urges participation in establishing by-laws and fixing of fees.
- The problem of non-participation coupled with mal-functioning of client service charter and business advisory center hinder SMEs in fully acquiring fair knowledge about amount of fees to be paid and strategic ways to maximize profit. This creates a situation of dissatisfaction and disagreement in fee fix and also leads to tax evasion, disabling the Kintampo Municipal Assembly to mobilize enough revenue, and consequently, does not achieve its target of IGF, nonetheless to extend the target.
After the research there was the need to sensitize both members and non-members about the problem. The sensitization would help seek the support from members and other actors who would help the advocacy process. On October 22, 2019, sensitization was organized for thirty (30) participants, all aimed at increasing support and voice for the action.
The role of media in advocacy action cannot be overemphasized. Media sensitization was undertaking through most listened community based radio, ADARS FM. The aim of this was to increase support on the problem and put more pressure on the duty bearers and decision takers to think in line with what the association has proposed. This would also help garner the support of the general public for the action.
There was also the need to engage the various stakeholders who matter in the project. A workshop was organized for fifty (50) stakeholders from the association, municipal assembly, heads of departments, media, and traditional authorities. This was to help validate the findings, increase commitment and support for the action.
A dialogue session was held with the Kintampo Municipal Assembly. The public officials were engaged in a dialogue by presenting facts and good arguments to them. The dialogue was held to engage the right target and convince them to act favorably in support of the action. The target group for the dialogue was the officials of the Kintampo Municipal Assembly.
Three separate follow-ups were done to ensure that the officials responsible for including the artisans in fee fixing meeting do the necessary documentations (MOU). The post-dialogue also re-enforces the message and the benefits of the advocacy action in relation to local government.
The achievements of the advocacy action were that;
- The Kintampo municipal assembly agreed to find an efficient way to communicate and interact with artisans.
- The Kintampo municipal assembly agreed to expand their scope of inclusion of artisans in their fee fixing meetings
- The Kintampo municipal assembly also agreed to be organizing the fee fixing meeting every year.
- The Kintampo Municipal Assembly also agreed to enforce bye-laws that would help the Municipality to increase its tax revenue.
- The KNMA also agreed to intensity educational programs to the public for them to understand the workings of the Assembly and annual plans.
- The Municipal assembly also agreed to decentralize their accountability levels and ensure that much is done at the communities’ levels.
- Engaged media to educate
- The artisans also agreed to pay their taxes promptly if they are included in the next fee fixing meeting.
- We learned that regular dialogue (interactions) between the Municipal Assembly and the artisans is the efficient way through which the municipality can get the artisans to pay their taxes.
Alliance building is good for advocacy.
- The Grantee implementation team served as mediators between the Kintampo Municipal Assembly and the artisans. We organized the dialogue section and presented the findings of the research to both parties.