Ghana’s parliament would have to review the criteria for disbursement of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund, according to a professor with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Government is mandated to allocate a proportion of collected national revenue to the local assemblies to drive development.
But land economist, Prof. Seth Opuni Asiamah, says conditions for selection and sharing of the common fund must be tied to the property rate collection potentials of each assembly.
“I don’t see, for example, why AMA, KMA and STMA should be paid huge sums of money from the district assemblies common fund when there are poor assemblies who cannot afford to execute development projects because the kind of revenue that they are collecting from property rate is so low; yet we give all the money to the big assemblies,” he stated.
Prof. Asiamah has observed that the Accra, Kumasi and Secondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assemblies have huge opportunities to generate revenue from property rate collection.
He was speaking in an interview on the sideline of a symposium in Kumasi on the value of commercial properties and the effect on doing business in Ghana, organized by the Good Governance Africa (GGA) – West African Centre, an independent research and advocacy organization.
The event was on the theme: “Towards Improved Revenue Generation in Ghana: The Role of the Development and Use of Commercial Properties in Ghana”.
According to Prof. Asiama, cities and towns are not developing at a faster pace because assemblies receive cheap money from the Common Fund, hence fail to be proactive in property rate collection.
He is also advocating taxation on idle lands to compel people to develop their lands “rather than leaving them idle and creaming off profits when the value has increased and just have to sell them”.
Head of Land Economy Department at the KNUST, Jonathan Ayitey, says the real estate industry has huge capital potentials yet to be tapped.
He identified and categorized commercial properties in Ghana and the key drivers of rents and rates for commercial properties in urban settlements in Ghana.
Participants commended GGA for providing the platform to enlighten the public on the opportunities and challenges in the sector, especially in rent charges.
Chief Executive of GGA-West Africa, Tina Asante-Apeatu, says outcomes of the engagement will be put into policy papers to drive national planning.
Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh | tv3network.com