Accra, Oct 07, GNA – The Foundation for Security Development in Africa (FOSDA) has entreated Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to scale-up Revenue Mobilization efforts to support community development.
Mrs Theodora W. Anti, the Programmes Manager, FOSDA, urged the MMDAs to take steps that could promote broadly shared prosperity.
She said about 44 per cent of Ghanaians lived in rural areas and that it was important MMDAs to serve as agents of development and to finance social service delivery to citizens.
Mrs Anti said this at a multi-stakeholder dialogue in Accra on Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) for MMDAs, organised by FOSDA with funding support from Oxfam.
The meeting was to allow participants to learn and share ideas among some of the high performing and low performing assemblies to assist improve Internally Generated Fund (IGF) mobilization.
The two-day workshop on the theme: “Improving Domestic Revenue Mobilization at the District Level”, registered participants from 15 selected MMDAs across the country.
The participating MMDAs are; Shai Osudoku Municipal, Jirapa Municipal, Sagnerigu Municipal, Zabzugu District, Shama District, Secondi-Takoradi Metropolitan, Takwa-Nsuauem Municipal, Ellembelle District and Cape Coast Metropolitan Assemblies.
The rest are; Adentan Municipal, Suhum Municipal, Kumasi Metropolitan, New Juaben North Municipal and Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai Municipal Assemblies.
Oxfam’s 2018 report on inequality in Ghana revealed that one of Ghana’s main developmental challenges was the growing trend of inequality, which perpetuates poverty among the poor, leaving behind a huge majority of people.
MMDAs are primarily responsible for creating local opportunities for economic growth and empowerment of citizens and for providing essential services such as education and health.
However, generally, the MMDAs are not able to generate sufficient revenue at the local level for development, resulting in over reliance on statutory sources such as District Assembly Common Fund ceded by the Central Government.
The low level of revenue mobilization is a major source of concern as it deepens poverty among citizens, severely hampering the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goal One and 10 on reducing inequality.
Mrs Anti said the meeting contributed to the development of the national IGF strategy; a strategy that would help improve revenue mobilization of all MMDAs.
She said, she was hopeful that MMDAs would also understand the need to include citizens’ participation in their activities, saying “from experience, when citizens are involved they see the need to pay and it even enhances transparency and accountability.”
Mr Mohammed Mahamud, Equality Programme and Influencing Lead at OXFAM Ghana, said if education and health systems were effective, Ghana could bridge inequalities, saying those sectors required resources to be able to run it effectively.
He said the objective of the “DRM Enhancement through Citizen Engagement Project” was to see how MMDAS could maximize their revenue generation locally to give them the flexibility to invest in sectors that would reduce poverty and inequality within their jurisdiction.
Mr Ebo Amoah, Head of Fiscal Decentralization at the Ministry of Finance, tasked MMDAs to serve as leaders and facilitators to form strong and effective partnerships that promoted diverse community interests to maximize opportunities and overcome challenges.
He said the communication between the MMDAs and taxpayers should be strengthened.
Alhaji Abu Mahama, Development Planning Officer, Shama District Assembly, said the capacity of revenue collectors was a major challenge.
Besides, the Assembly’s ability to manage the data collected and community awareness were other challenges.
Alhaji Mahama said there was the need for regular sensitization of stakeholders, especially community members.