By Samuel Akumatey,
Ho, May 15, GNA - Mr James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has suggested that government reviewed rent charges of State housing facilities and institute measures to ensure their maintenance.
He said that had become necessary in view of the numerous defaults in rent payment on the properties, costing the nation huge sums of money.
Mr Avedzi said this in Ho during public hearings of the 2015/2016 Auditor General’s reports on Municipal and District Assemblies and educational institutions in the Volta and Eastern Regions.
Rent arrears form four Assemblies in the Volta region comprising Kpando, Agotime-Ziofe, Ketu North and Nkwanta South totalled GHC40,958.00 in 2015, with the 2016 report detailing ten Assemblies who owed a total of GHC 22,330.00.
The Chairman particularly raised concern over the average cost of rooms in some areas after it came to light that despite a two bedroom state apartment in the Kadjebi District going for as low as GHC 14.00 a month, the Assembly still owed an amount of GHC 3,396 in rent arrears for the year 2016.
Most heads of Assemblies and schools blamed the pile up on maintenance costs, and said most facilities were in bad conditions and either attracted low prices or were maintained by tenants for rent extensions.
Mr Avedzi said the Assemblies must make budget allocations for the maintenance of such facilities and must work together with tenants who do so themselves.
He called on revenue superintendents to "be up to their tasks", and seek police assistance in retrieving revenue and assets that belonged to the State.
The report exposed scores of unaccounted general counterfoil receipt books with six Assemblies in Volta Region, losing a total of 159 in 2015, whiles four Assemblies in 2016 also could not produce 44 such documents.
Mr Avedzi asked the Finance Departments to handle records properly, and ensure that payment vouchers were not mixed up in the audits.
He urged staff of the Assemblies to pay back their salary advances and loans, and charged the auditors to ensure strict compliance.
Mr Avedzi further warned the Assemblies and schools against purchasing goods and services from non-VAT registered entities.