The Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA) has held a town hall meeting on the 28th March 2017 at Taifa in Accra to account to the citizenry the performance of its 2016 budget.

Gema PicsThe meeting (engagement platform) formed part of the Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability process (SPEFA) that aims at empowering citizens to engage duty bearers on Public Financial Management processes.

Speaking at the event, the representative of the Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr. Laud Binka, said the purpose of the Town Hall meeting was a means to deepen governance at the local level as it creates a platform for the Assembly to account to the people how revenue had been utilized and engage the citizens on performance of planned programmes and activities in 2016.

Budget Performance
The Municipal Budget Officer, Torgbui Tali Gafatsi III disclosed that as of the end of 2016, the assembly was able to generate internally Gh¢4,084,818.48 in excess of an expected figure of Gh¢3,848,102.00 representing a 6% increase.

He said the Assembly improved upon its revenue mobilization especially in the area of Land & Royalties (Building Permits, Registration of Plots, Communication Masts, etc.) generating GH¢1,965,580.26, 25% more than the estimated GH¢1,571,240.00. He was happy that only GH¢24,070.00, representing 28.0% out of the projected GH¢85,840.00 for Fines was actualized.

Torgbui Tali Gafatsi III among other factors explained that the low collection of fines was due to the fact that citizens are becoming aware of their responsibilities towards the Assembly.

Speaking on why only 28% was realized for fines, he said “If we are not collecting so much from Fines, it means people are not doing the wrong things for them to be charged. So if we have not collected so much from Fines then it means our citizens are becoming law-abiding. We even want the revenue from the fines to become zero (0) in the future so that we will not go about redeeming fines”

He stated that Assembly implemented its planned programmes and activities through the IGF with funding support from the Central Government and Donor Agencies including the District Assemblies Common Fund (DCAF), GH¢1,487,358.31, 84% out of the expected GH¢1,782,784.43; District Development Facility (DDF), GH¢440,260.00 (80.5%) from the estimated GH¢546,628.00 and Urban Development Grant (UDG), GH¢2,963,648.36 which was 81.9% more than the anticipated GH¢1,628,725.82 and others.

He described the performance as positive and applauded all the stakeholders who formed part of the revenue mobilization strategy.

The Assistant Municipal Planning Officer, Mr. Alex Amoah presented the Status of Implementation of the 2016 Action Plan. This covered education, health, water and sanitation, roads and other non-physical projects. He also highlighted on some planned programmes for 2017.
During the plenary, the disability community called on the assembly to ensure fairness in revenue collection.

They worried that businesses that operate at night such as Indomie sellers were largely not paying any token to the assembly.

Residents in the Taifa area also complained bitterly about the poor nature of their roads, water and sanitation, and the dwindling performance of their basic schools.

The Presiding Member of the Assembly, Hon. Jesse Nii Noi Anum, urged the citizens to show interest in the work of the Assembly and participate in such fora to be informed and educated. He encouraged participants to share the information acquired from the meeting with people in their communities.

African Development Programme (ADP) a CSO in the democratic governance space, co-organized the event under the SNV-led Social Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability process.