Parliament has summoned Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Irene Naa Torshie Addo, to appear before the legislature to brief members on the status of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
This came up during the contribution of the Business statement when members of the Minority raised concerns over non-release of common fund to the District Assemblies.
The DACF is basically a development fund designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of national resources for development in every part of the country.
Member of Parliament for Banda, Ahmed Ibrahim, indicated that monies meant for the Assemblies are yet to be released which is stifling development in the districts.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu also argued that “the non-release, inadequate releases and no releases to the Common Fund is affecting the operations of Regional Coordinating Councils, District Assemblies and Members of Parliament delivery on the ground”.
He subsequently urged the First Deputy Speaker to invoke the procedure of Parliament’s standing orders (rules) and invite the Common Fund administrator as well as the Finance Minister so the legislature monitors their report.
First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, stated it was important the House hears from both of them. “I will direct that the Minister of Finance and the Administrator of the Common Fund would meet the House and Committee of the Whole on Tuesday after adjournment” he said.
Government has from 2016 to 2018, increased the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) net transfers to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) by 43.78 per cent.
Member of Parliament for Ho Central, Benjamin Kpodo, went to court on the capping of the DACF. The court ruled that the inclusion of the funds allocated to the DACF as part of the statutory funds which were capped in adherence to the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947) violated Article 252 Clause 2 of the 1992 Constitution.
The court further held that Section 126 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 916), which also limited the proportion of revenue due for allocation to the DACF, also violated Article 252(2) of the 1992 Constitution.
Per the court’s decision, sections of Act 947 and Act 916 which gave the government the legal backing to cap the funds allocated to the DACF were unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
Article 252(2) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that Parliament shall “make allocation of not less than five per cent of the revenues of Ghana to the district assemblies for development and the amount shall be paid into the District Assemblies Common Fund in quarterly instalments.
The Common Fund Administrator and the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government work on the disbursement of the funds.