The Municipal and Metropolitan District Assemblies (MMDAs) have been urged to refrain from entering into any agreement with financial commitment that would bind the Assembly for more than one financial year.

Mr Ismael Ayittey, Greater Accra Regional Minister in a speech read on behalf of the Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, said government would not tolerate inefficiencies and waste in spending and there would be strict enforcement of all relevant laws and regulations in the new Public Management Act, 2016 (ACT 921).

Speaking at the opening of a regional budget hearing of MMDAs in Accra, the Minister urged the assemblies to take necessary measures to address all infractions reported on by the Auditor General in 2016 audit report.

“Officers would be sanctioned including jail sentences for wrongful exercise of discretion as well as reckless handling of public funds,” he added.

He said the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has been working since 2011 to speed up the pace of fiscal decentralisation reforms, moving from the use of activity-based budgeting format to programme-based budgeting in preparing MMDAs composite budgets.

“This is to ensure that MMDAs budgets are aligned to the national budget preparation and presentation formats to ensure stronger linkage between public spending and determined results as well as improved efficiency in the allocation and utilisation of resources”.

He said the Ministry had introduced the Regional Integrated Budget System to harmonise the existing budgetary allocations and transfers to the Regional Coordinating Councils and the Regional Departments.

Mr Ofori-Atta noted that it was imperative for MMDAs to support government effort to control the wage bill and free up more resources for infrastructural development and improved service delivery.

He said the Ministry had forwarded templates to all MMDAs to capture the necessary compensation-related data to the Fiscal Decentralisation Unit for action by end of September 2017 to ensure a more credible compensation budget for 2018.

The Minister cautioned the Assemblies to step up their local revenue generation and reduce the overdependence on government revenue transfers.

Mr Ofori-Atta said their outfit had observed through its monitoring activities that some MMDAs do not give any portion of their 20 per cent Internal Generated Funds to the departments of the assembly and that some use all the funds on goods and services expenditures.

He urged the assemblies to be sensitive to the tax payers of an assembly and demonstrate that the rates and levies collected were ploughed back into the district level development.

Source: GNA/