Friends of the Nation (FoN), a non-governmental organization, has organized a day’s training on local governance and domestic revenue mobilization for the media at Shama in the Western Region.
The training exposed the media to the legal frameworks in revenue mobilization at the local level that would empower them to be able to monitor how resources are utilize.
Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Programmes Manager of FoN in an interview explained that “we are expecting the media to be proactive in engaging the assemblies, especially in areas that contribute to the revenue mobilization.”
He proposed that as a means of devising strategies to enhance domestic revenue, assemblies should reinvest funds in areas that generates economic activities. According to him citizens are motivated to commit to paying levies if they feel impacted by their contributions.
He urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to adopt more participatory and inclusive approach with the citizenry in its domestic revenue mobilization for development to thrive.
Emmanuel Nana Yartel, District Budget Officer at the Shama District Assembly, admitted that the local assemblies do have challenges with amassing domestic revenue to support central government transfers.
He explained that this has become a major constraint in funding district infrastructure projects to meet the growing demands of the people. “As we talking about Ghana beyond aid, and as an assembly, we should also do more as much as possible to be able to improve our local revenue mobilization significantly,” he emphasized.
He indicated that Shama District has taken note of some innovative strategies to maximize domestic revenue mobilization some of which he mentioned are, automated systems and tokenism for revenue collectors. “We have outlined a number of measures and that includes data collection and automating our systems to help in revenue management at all angles,” he added
In addressing the issue with getting the buy-in from the citizenry, Mr. Yartel disclosed that the assembly has employed several communication and social accountability tools that can help whip up public knowledge and support for revenue mobilization.
“Our key challenge is that a lot of people do not understand why the assemblies collect monies from them and are not used for its intended purpose; so, I think it is about engagement and showing to them through accountability, town hall meetings, social accountability boards to display the projects we have been executing within the district among others,” he added.