Increase Common Fund to 20 percent – Expert

In order to ensure an effective local government system and meet the New Urban Agenda, it is imperative to increase the funding of local authorities in the case of Ghana from its current 5 percent to 20 percent, President of the Urban Think Tank Africa (TUTTA) Alioune Badiane has suggested.

According to him, local authorities are the ones in charge of the Common Fund and are also implementing programmes at the local level, so he reckons they deserve not more than 20 percent.

“It is something we have to look at, the recommendation is to go between 15 and 20 percent, according to Africa Union recommendation.

“If you want the local authorities to play an effective role, you need to build their capacity financially,” he told stakeholders at the opening of the Regional Strategic Meeting West Africa of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG) in Accra.

Mr. Badiane, who was a former director for UN Habitat, explained that one of the biggest impediments to local governments in Africa is insufficient capacity building, which is hampering development at the local level and creating chaotic urbanisation.

Throughout modern history, Mr. Badiane argues, planned urbanisation has been a major driver of development and poverty reduction.

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Parliament in the last meeting approved GH₵1.8billion for sharing in the 2018 DACF Proposed Formula. The total allocation was based on 5 percent of projected national tax revenue for 2018.

Governments can respond to this key development opportunity through the New Urban Agenda by promoting a new model of urban development that is able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity.

According to him, GH¢100billion is required every year in order to fix unplanned urbanisation.

On her part, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, indicated that it is something they will consider.

“At some point we increased it from 5 to 7 percent, now we have capped it at 5 percent because of economic issues and unavailability of funds – but the possibility of an increase is there.”

She however maintained that her emphasis is on the local authorities also working on mobilising revenue at the local level.

“If you take Accra for example, property rates alone will lift them up in a dramatic way, build your capacity; if valuation of property is the issue, go and do the valuation of the property and the land and valuation board is there to help.”

Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, indicated that it is only Africans who can develop the continent and that it was time we united on all fronts to achieve the New Urban Agenda.

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UCLG Africa is the umbrella-organisation of African local governments, and the objectives of its Africa Regional Strategic Meetings aim at taking stock of the state of decentralisation in the different regions, and also addressing priorities of the decentralization agenda in the regions.

Furthermore, to deliberate on the priority actions required to support local governments become reliable partners for national governments, the regional economic communities, and other development partners and stakeholders.

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