Cape Coast, May 31, GNA – A two-day training
programme has been organised for 20 Presiding Members (PMs) drawn from
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Central Region
to sharpen their skills in revenue mobilisation.
The training on the theme: “Ghana beyond Aid: the role of Presiding Members,” was held in Cape Coast.
Mr Albert Solomon Bondzie, the President of the Central Region Presiding Members Association, in an address said the objective of the workshop was to identify how PMs could assist the MMDAs in the mobilisation of revenue for development to reduce the dependence on the Central Government and external donors.
He appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to come out with a new model of standing orders that would be in line with the new Local Governance Act to provide a uniform document to guide the conduct and proceedings of the MMDAs.
“It will also help provide orientation to the newly elected PMs in the Central Region on resource mobilisation, common fund guidelines, the local governance system, the standing orders, Local Governance Act, 2016 and the Financial Management Act, 2016,”he said.
Dr Eric Akobeng, Development Economist told the participants that section 174(4) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) required the head of the Internal Audit Unit of the MMDAs to submit report to the PMs.
He said: “As speaker of the MMDAs, PMs are placed in a very strategic position in seeking accountability from persons entrusted with the management of MMDAs resources.”
Dr Akobeng said their ability to understand audit reports would enable them to pursue effective implementation of the recommendations in the report.
“There is the need for PMs to be trained and equipped with the requisite skills and tools to enable them play their role in financial management, resource mobilisation and effective governance of the MMDAs,” he stated.
He said the MMDAs strategic plans must be part of the “Ghana beyond Aid” agenda and called on PMs, assembly Members, Town, Zonal and Area Councils and Unit Committees to involve themselves in the revenue mobilisation drive of the MMDAs to reduce the over-reliance on external funding.
He urged assembly members to assist revenue collectors to identify and register all eligible tax payers in their areas and also support in the sensitisation of the people on the importance of paying levies.
“The Ghana beyond Aid” agenda requires MMDAs to explore effective and innovative ways of raising revenue and ensure prudent financial management.
“The MMDAs need data to determine their revenue collection potentials and widen their tax net by identifying new revenue sources to match with new local economic development trends,” he said
The Development Economist suggested the payment of operational duty allowance to assembly members aside the payment of sitting and transport allowance to enable them to carry out their duties effectively as specified by section 16 of the Local Governance Act.
Dr Akobeng said the assembly members had a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders to improve the lives of the citizenry and therefore “without the operational allowance we will indirectly be denying active local participatory and decentralisation process.
“Mobilising communities through improve participatory budgeting and local governance engagement with the citizens facilitate increased revenue mobilisation.”