The Common Fund Administrator, Irene Naa Torshie Addo and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, are expected to appear before Parliament tomorrow to answer questions relating to the disbursement of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
The Minority in parliament has threatened to block the approval of the government’s 2020 budget over delayed disbursement of the fund.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Minority have alleged that the government has since April this year refused to release the fund to the districts despite parliamentary approval.
They argued that the government’s delay to disburse the fund was stifling the development agenda at the grassroot level.
Mr George Samuel Nartey, MP for Ningo-Prampram during discussions of business for this week demanded that the Common Fund Administrator, together with the Minister of Finance be summoned to the floor of Parliament, to respond to the questions tabled by the minority in relation to the government’s failure to release the cash to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.
However, the Majority leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, in response to issues raised by the minority disclosed to the house that the second quarter arrears of the DACF have just been paid. He gave the assurance that the arrears would be cleared as soon as the third quarter was allocated before December this year.
“We are aware that the DACF is in arrears of the second quarter and that payment has been effected. There have been arrears but as we speak today, payment has been effected,” he said.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week when the Deputy Minister for Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, appeared before Parliament to answer questions relating to the release of the funds in response to Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’s question about the DACF delays, she said about GH¢336,168,522.78 had been released to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department for disbursement.
She said, the amount represented the first quarter of 2018 payment which had been effected and would soon be hitting the account of the various MMDAs.
Mrs Osei-Asare in explaining the delays said when revenue inflows were not sufficient to meet all constitutional statutory payment from the consolidated funds, delays may occur.
A summary of the Central Domestic Revenue Operation of the government and receipt by the DACF from 2017-2018 indicated that as of the end of the second quarter of 2019, the DACF has a total amount of GHc¢607,655,408.54 outstanding balance yet to be paid.
The amount comprises arrears of GH¢142,000,000 and GH¢465,655,408.70 for the 3rd Quarter of 2018 and 2nd quarter of 2019 respectively.
As part of parliamentary procedure and as directed by the Speaker, the two officials, the Administrator of DACF and the Minister of Finance would address the committee of the whole of parliament tomorrow.
The government is mandated by law to annually make provision of five per cent of the total revenues of the country for the district assemblies’ development and the amount is expected to be paid into a fund designated for district assemblies.