GHC1.576bn to DACF breaches the constitution- Ato Forson

A former deputy Finance Minister, Cassiel Ato Forson, says the allocation of GHC1.576 billion by the government to the District Assembly Common Fund in the 2017 budget is in clear breach of Ghana’s constitution. He argued in a Facebook post Monday that the allocation falls short of the five per cent of the country’s total revenue, which Article 252 (2) requires the government to allocate under the District Assembly Common Fund. “Reconciling the allocations made to the District Assemblies Common Fund in the Appropriation Act and the requirement of Article 252(2), and the definition given to total government revenue in Act 936 of the Local Governance Act 2016, the allocation to the District Assemblies Common Fund must be equal to 1,688,265,047.45 cedis,” he said. Article 252 (2) of the constitution states: “Subject to the provisions of this constitution, Parliament shall annually make provision for the allocation of not less than 5% of the total revenues of Ghana to the District Assemblies for development; and the amount shall be paid into the District Assemblies Common Fund in quarterly installments”. Section 234 of the local governance Act 2016, Act 936 defines total government revenue to mean the entire revenue collected by, or accruing to the central government other than foreign loans, grants, non tax revenue and revenues already collected by or for District Assemblies under an enactment. Parliament on Friday approved the 2017 Appropriation Bill, giving the government the authority spend revenue not exceeding GH¢64,116,793,031 from the Consolidated Fund and other funds for the running of the country up to December 31, 2017. In the Appropriation Act, the government allocated a total of GHC1,575,933,339.05 to the District Assemblies Common Fund, something Mr Forson argues fall short of the five per cent by GHC 112,331,708.4. “This is a constitutional violation and it is important that civil society and believers of local governance and decentralisation structures speak against this singular action of government,” he contended. He added “It doesn’t only breaches the constitution but also hampers the developmental abilities of the District Assemblies like my district- Ajumako Enyan Essiam District Assembly in the central region”.

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