Lack of funds to undertake developmental projects is impeding growth at the district level, District Chief Executive (DCE) for Garu in the Upper East Region, Emmanuel Asore Avoka, has said.
According to him, the capping of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) has affected development and left the district with little resources, as Garu’s share of the DACF is negligible.
Mr. Avoka expressed frustration when members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development paid a working visit to the district.
The visit was to inspect projects funded by the DACF in the district and was part of a tour of similarly funded projects in districts within the Upper East, Savannah, North East, and Northern Regions.
The DACF, a statutory fund, has been capped by the government in adherence to the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (Act 947), but the DCE said the central government needs to reconsider the decision, since it is affecting districts with high poverty levels.
Mr. Avoka said the district’s magistrate court building, which the Committee inspected, was put up with donor funds from the District Development Facility, adding that there was no allocation from the DACF for the project.
At the Tempane district, the DCE, Paul Azuma Abugri, asked the Committee to factor district poverty into the formula for allocating the DACF to ensure an equitable distribution of the resources.
The Committee members inspected the construction of a court complex building in the district which was funded by the DACF. The edifice, when completed, will have 23 offices, an assembly hall, a client service area, drivers’ and workers’ lounges, a 150-seat conference room, and other facilities.
The DCE said the assembly lacked accommodation for staff, causing a high attrition rate, in addition to other challenges.
At the Bolgatanga East district, the committee praised the DCE, Rev. Emmanuel Abugri Abole, for showing leadership and seeing to the construction of the assembly’s office complex, which was 95 percent complete at the time of the visit.
The project, with a varied contract sum of GH¢2.94 million, was commenced in November 2018 and is expected to be handed over to the assembly in June this year, the DCE said.
Vice-Chairman of the Local Government Committee, Suleman Sanid, observed that some of the districts had done well, while others appeared indifferent in seeing to the completion of the DACF projects.
“At places like Tempane, we were not happy with the pace of work. There is a lot more to be done. We will sit down with the Common Fund Administrator and the Local Government Ministry to discuss the projects and the things needed to be done.”
Mr. Sanid also expressed concern about how district assemblies are kept in the dark in the award of contracts for central government projects in their respective areas, saying that poor project execution and monitoring are the results of such actions.