Mr Benjamin Kpodo, MP for Ho Central (M) addressing the media yesterday

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has raised alarm on the current status of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), which it claimed has been rendered impotent by the Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Bawumia government.

According to the side, the Fund is not working because monies due have not been disbursed to enable it to carry out its mandate as outlined by the 1992 Constitution and the relevant Act.

Minority members on the Committee for Local Government and Rural Development who raised the alarm at a news conference in Parliament yesterday, accused the government of consistently depriving the DACF of the needed funds.

Amounts due the Fund, they said, were under-provided for and owed for 2017 and 2018 and only partly settled in 2020 with monies borrowed during the COVID-19 intervention period.

MP for Ho Central, Mr Benjamin Kpodo who addressed the media indicated that the government had previously introduced the ‘Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, under which the Common Fund was listed as those funds that should be capped to retain funds for Central Government spending.

According to him, the Supreme Court in June 2019, however, ruled that the DACF could not be capped as a constitutional creation and that the receipts from petroleum sources should be included in the total revenues when computing funds due the DACF.

He noted that the Ministry of Finance is refusing to properly comply with the directives of the apex Court.

The Ministry, he said, has failed to release funds to the DACF for several quarters of the 2020-2021 financial years, which is a clear violation of Article 252 (2) of the Constitution.

“Indeed, payments have not been made by quarterly instalment.

“The Ministry of Finance is very heavily indebted to the DACF. The amount has run to about two billion Ghana Cedis.  This is made up as follows: 2019-GH¢700m (per the Auditor-General’s report) 2020-GH¢587m 2021- GH¢884m (Estimates for only 1″ and 2nd Quarters).

“Curiously a release letter issued by the Ministry of Finance indicated an amount of GH¢434,587,416.00 for the fourth quarter of 2020; this amount was lower by GH¢210,301,339 than the amount computed by the same Ministry of Finance by which the allocation should have been GH¢644,888,755.00.

“During reconciliations, the Chief Director of the Ministry stated that the Ministry did not release the full amount because that would have exceeded the legally appropriated allocation to the DACF.

“We realise that that position is not acceptable because if even the correct amounts were fully released that would amount to GH¢1,822,795,315.00, still lower than the appropriated amount of GH¢2,312,706,550.00 for the 2020 year”, he added.

Mr. Kpodo lamented that for the entire 2021 not even a pesewa has been paid to the DACF and that a release letter was purportedly issued for the first quarter for an amount of GH¢434.3 million and yet no money has been paid to the Fund to date.

“Therefore, the arrears have piled up for 2019, 2020 and 2021,” he added.

The consequence, he said, is that the DACF is unable to release funds to MMDAs for one complete year to carry out development projects.

The Minority called on the government to determine the monies due to the Fund within a maximum of one month after the end of each quarter and accordingly release the allocation to the Fund.

The side, Mr. Kpodo said, will head to court if the government fails to heed the call.