MMDAs get ‘software cure’ for poor revenue mobilisation

O. B. Amoah, Deputy Minister for Local Government & Rural Development

In an effort to boost revenue collection by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development with support from GIZ has developed district-level Revenue software dubbed ‘the dLRev’.

The software is capable of administering all revenue items such as fees, permits, licences, investments and rates. It also has e-payment options and interfaces with other government systems, including GIFMIS.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah who announced this, said the software is currently being used by 60 MMDAs and will soon be made available to the rest across the country, in order to help change the poor status quo of revenue mobilisation at the districts level.

Revenue collection by MMDAs has over the years been nothing to write home about. Reports indicate that internally generated funds (IGF) of MMDAs is 20% to total revenue. This is awfully far below the international threshold of 60%. As a result, the Assemblies have been relying largely on central government transfers and donor funds for development projects.

Besides introduction of the software, the Deputy Minister said government has also made various policy interventions and laid the foundation to support MMDAs improve their capacities in generating more revenue toward the realisation of the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda’, as well as attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Key among the policy interventions is included review and issuing fee-fixing guidelines to guide rates and the fee-fixing process; development of an IGF Strategy and Reference Guide; and development and revision of a National Local Economic Development Policy to guide business development at the district level.

Mr. O.B. Amoah who deputised for the sector Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, was speaking at Sunyani during the opening session of the 20th biennial national delegates’ conference of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG). The theme for the two-day conference was ‘Ghana Beyond Aid: A paradigm-shift for sustainable development, the role of local authorities’.

“The vision of Ghana Beyond Aid and the SDGs will largely be realised if we work diligently and efficiently in delivering on government’s flagship programmes and the global goals. We therefore need to situate programmes like Planting for Food and Jobs; One District, One Factory; Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD); Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP); digital addressing system and e-technology systems among others in our administration of local governments,” he noted.

The Northern Coordinator-GIZ, Simon Manu, outlined major impediments to revenue mobilisation by MMDAs, and urged them to among others to embrace digitisation and e-systems to turn things around. He mentioned lack of adequate and accurate data to inform revenue mobilization strategies; inaccurate valuation of property; lack of automated collection and payment systems to reduce human interfaces; high cost of compliance, in the sense that Assemblies pay more to collect less revenue; weak political will to enforce revenue collection policies; poor management of outsourcing revenue collection; limited investment in IGF collection; and unsatisfactory incentives for actors in the revenue management system.

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He therefore pledged the support of GZI through provision of technical capacity building to MMDAs in revenue mobilisation and management, as well as strengthening relevant public institutions.

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