SEND45345The government of Ghana has been asked to provide a clear framework to guide mineral districts on the utilisation of their royalties in development interventions directly affecting communities in the mining areas.

This they say should be done in addition to existing arrangements.

The call was made at a recent National Stakeholders Policy Dialogue on the management of District Assemblies Common Fund, Internally Generated Funds and Smallholder Agricultural Development held in Accra.

The dialogue session was convened by SEND-GHANA, an NGO that work to promote good governance and equality of?women and men in Ghana.

A communique was issued at the end of the dialogue.

 

Read the communique below:

 

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A NATIONAL STAKEHOLDERS

POLICY DIALOGUE IN ACCRA ON 26TH NOVEMBER 2013

AT THE ALISA HOTEL

 

INTRODUCTION:

Participants at a National Stakeholders Policy Dialogue on the management of District Assemblies Common Fund, Internally Generated Funds and Smallholder Agricultural Development convened by SEND-GHANA an NGO hereby present this communiqu? in acknowledgement that the Agricultural sector, the DACF and the Assemblies Internally Generated Funds hold enormous opportunities for sustainable development in Ghana.

Acknowledging that;

Government has the mandate to develop appropriate policies, institutions and more importantly the drafting and enforcement of legal instruments for governance and national development as well promoting transparency and accountability in the use of public resources;

The government of Ghana (GoG) in recent times has shown the interest and commitment in developing the Agriculture sector and deepening participatory democracy? through the implementation of numerous programmes/interventions such as the implementation of Ghana?s Decentralization Action Plan, the Medium Term Agricultural Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) and the Street Naming Exercise;

There is the need for CSOs participation and contribution to complement government efforts for citizen-led Participatory Democracy and increased responsiveness of government.

Despite the aforementioned acknowledgements, participants hereby bring the following development concerns and policy recommendations to the attention of government and other stakeholders that;

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE

  1. In addition to existing arrangements government should provide a clear framework to guide mineral districts on the utilisation of their royalties in development interventions directly affecting communities in the mining areas. These interventions should cover alternative livelihood programmes and projects with about 70 percent of total royalties available.
  2. Government should develop generic guidelines on the utilization of Internally Generated Funds (IGF) for MMDAs. The guidelines should have components relating to how poor districts should use portions of their IGF to support alternative livelihoods.
  3. Government should introduce innovative measures including technology in data management ?to improve revenue collection and ensure transparency and accountability in its utilization
    1. Government should take pragmatic steps to support MMDAs to improve revenue mobilization by enforcing the existing regulations on the operationalization of substructures of the MMDAs in order to improve revenue mobilization and accountability in accordance with Legislative Instrument 1967.
    2. In reviewing the petroleum Revenue Management Act, government should provide for financing offshore activities affecting district assemblies in the wake of the oil find.
    3. Government should encourage MMDAs to make and gazette bye-laws to sanitize revenue mobilization and utilization, while government takes steps to finalize the review of the process of gazetting such laws in the decentralization policy.

DISTRICT ASSEMBLY COMMON FUNDD (DACF)

  1. Government should review statutory deductions on activities that can be implemented directly by the Assemblies with particular reference to GYEEDA, fumigation when the current MOU between the MMDAs and related service providers expires.
  2. Capacity building on financial management should go beyond the core staff of the assembly, it should include assemblypersons and sub-structures of the MMDAs.
  3. Government should deepen participatory democracy at the local level by engaging all stakeholders in fee fixing, contracts and project implementation in order to promote transparency and accountability.
  4. Government should ensure that the Audit Implementation Committees (ARICs) are functional and live up to expectation in carrying out their mandate.

AGRICULTURE

  1. Government and traditional authorities should muster the political will and make conscious effort to address agricultural resource inequities especially women?s access to Agricultural land.
  2. Government should ensure that MMDAs develop land use plans and enforce their implementation when passed into law.
  3. Government should increase the number of Agricultural Mechanization and Service Centres (AMSECs) to all districts where agriculture is the dominant economic activity and expand the services provided.
  4. Government should improve Agricultural Extensions Agents to farmer ratio and resource extension agents to deliver their mandate effectively.
  5. Government should take proactive steps to allocate and disburse resources for road and irrigation facilities that directly support smallholder agriculture.
  6. Government should persuade the Agriculture Development Bank to establish a 20 percent lending portfolio to commercially oriented smallholder farmers to increase their productivity.
  7. Government should establish an input distribution network and market information Centres that adequately provide inputs and information to smallholder farmers.

CONCLUSION

We commend government for all the policy initiatives that have been introduced towards promoting the growth of the national economy and we pledge as Civil Society Organizations, to give our optimum support regarding the implementation of the Ghana shared growth and development agenda. In conclusion, we resolve to support all genuine attempts by the public and private sectors and relevant stakeholders in the efforts towards sustainable development.

Story by Pascal K. Kudiabor

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.