Delay in releasing DACF affecting completion of projects (December 5, 2014) Pg 23
The delay and irregularity in releasing the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) is affecting the completion of major projects in two districts in the Western Region.
According to the Ghana Anti Corruption Coalition, several projects which were to be completed a year or more ago in the Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani-Anhwiawso-Bekwai districts have stalled as funds for their completion have been exhausted.
With lack of funds, the assemblies are unable to start, continue or complete projects in the areas of education, health, housing and sanitation earmarked for 2014.
The LOGODEP project
Speaking at a press conference in Accra yesterday to release its findings of a USAID-funded project under the Local Government and Decentralisation Programme (LOGODEP), the Executive Secretary of the GACC, Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, said findings of the project showed significant lapses in the funding of developmental projects at the local level by the DACF.
The project seeks to, among other aims, strengthen civil society capacity to influence local government priorities and monitor implementation of their annual actions, improve the trust between metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) and effective implementation of the projects at the local level and also institutionalise a platform at the local level to foster engagement between civil society actors and local government.
The GACC is implementing its version known as “Enhancing the Capacity of CSOs to effectively engage district assemblies to ensure transparency and accountability”.
It is being piloted in the Sefwi Wiawso Municipality and the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District in the Western Region, where Local Accountability Networks (LANETS) have been formed to monitor development projects.
The LANETS is a platform that seeks to promote citizen participation through collaboration with MMDAs. The LANETS are expected to evaluate service delivery and development works at the local level and use the findings to engage the MMDAs.
Giving an overview of the findings, Mrs Ofori-Kwafo said, the lapses recorded in the Sefwi-Wiawso Municipality included delays in releasing the fund which had affected the completion of major projects, including schools, a nurses’ hostel, slaughter house and market sheds.
The Communication Officer of GACC, Ms Beauty Emefa Narteh, observed that the promotion of the transparency in the execution of development projects would help minimise the loopholes that people took advantage of to be corrupt.
Projects under stress
In the Asafo electoral area in the Sefwi Wiawso District, a GHc 319,086 DACF-funded nurses’ hostel has stalled. The project has not seen any form of work since the GACC team last visited.
Similarly, the construction of a GH¢ 150,000 six-unit classroom block at Brekuline also in the Sefwi Wiawso Municipality has stalled.
Mrs Ofori-Kwafo, however, indicated that three trips of sand had been brought to the community only three days before the LOGODEP monitoring team arrived.
Other projects that have stalled at Sefwi Wiawso are the construction of a GHc 65,986-three unit classroom block and a GHc 145,627 Mutual Health Insurance Office, which are all DACF-funded projects.
Although the report was silent on the source of funding for running the assemblies, indications are that the assemblies have to shift from relying on the DACF to its internally generated funds.
In the Bibiani-Anhwiawso-Bekwai district, the construction of a slaughter house and a four-storey business centre and paving of a durbar ground have all stalled, although enough money had been injected into the project.
The DACF is a pool of resources created under Article 252 of the 1992 Constitution. The fund is a minimum of 7.5 per cent of the national revenue set aside to be shared among all MMDAs in the country with a formula approved by Parliament.
The DACF can, therefore, be said to be a development fund which enables the use of the nation’s wealth to the benefit of all citizens.
But with little flowing into it from the national kitty, its operation is pushing hard times down the throat of MMDAs across the country.
The situation is so bad that the last quarter of the DACF was released to 216 assemblies in August this year.