A member of the local government committee wants the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to turn to property rate to boost their revenue generation amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has slowed economic activities.
Salifu Adam Braimah observed major economic activities, which have been the backbone of internally generated funds (IGFs) for the MMDAs across the country has slumped on the back of the pandemic that has affected and killed thousands of people globally.
In the Savannah Region, where Mr Adam Braimah serves as the Regional Minister, he said the markets there were the major source of IGFs for the assemblies but “economic activity has completely slowed down” just like in other areas.
“There is a total shutdown of everything,” Mr Braimah told journalists on the economic impact of the disease when he launched the second phase of the Covid-19 market disinfection and fumigation exercise at Damongo on Sunday.
He said the shutdown of the Mole National Park arising out of the pandemic has had economic consequences on the West Gonja Municipal Assembly, saying “though we don’t even get money from Mole…it has major impact on all economic activity [here]”.
The situation, he said, has affected the IGFs of the assemblies, noting the District Assemblies Common Fund, which could come in handy, also has a guideline on how to utilize the fund.
Focus on property rate
Property rate, the Regional Minister said, thus becomes the best option for the various assemblies to fall on to shore up their IGFs but noted there has been a challenge with its collection.
While acknowledging that property rate “is the most easiest way to get money” for the assemblies, he said whenever they attempt it, “chiefs will come and tell you to backdown”.
He has thus underscored the need for an intensification of national education on the need to pay property rate.
“Property rate is the way to go but you need a lot of intensified education for people to accept paying taxes and that is the only way to get revenue,” he advised.
The disinfection exercise
A total of 57 markets within the Region were disinfected in the Sunday morning exercise by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and executed by waste management experts Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
Other public places such as public toilets, CHPS compounds and lorry parks were also disinfected as part of the government’s coordinated efforts in fighting the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the country.
A massive clean-up exercise is scheduled to be conducted in the beneficiary markets in the Region on Monday by Zoomlion.
Launching the second phase for the Savannah Region, Mr Braimah expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Local Government and Zoomlion Ghana Limited for the initiative noting that markets is a possible hotspot “where you can have infections spreading fast”.
He said the disinfection exercise is one of the best options now as there is currently no cure.
“There’s still no cure to this pandemic so we have to keep to all the protocols till we get a cure to this disease.”
Level of protocols compliance
The Regional Minister observed that adherence to the Covid-19 protocols were low at the initial stage, stating “people had problem with abiding by the protocols but we now have people complying”.
“It’s still the nose mask that people expect the Assemblies and the government to supply them,” but said that should be the responsibility of every individual.
“Personal hygiene and personal health should be our personal responsibility but for the vulnerable, government must come in,” he stated, noting they received nose masks from the government which have to be distributed to the people.
The Municipal Chief Executive for West Gonja, Said Muhazu Jibril, praised the government for the efforts taken so far in the fight against the disease, noting Nana Akufo-Addo’s efforts have “protected lives and property of Ghanaians”.
He said he has been impressed with the execution of the disinfection by Zoomlion Ghana Limited, stating: “The intensity that we’ve seen today, for me is superbly done. I want to thank Zoomlion and the Ministry of Local Government.”
Mr Jibril described the market disinfection and fumigation as strategic as the place is a hotbed gathering of all people from different places.
“Strategically, where we have chosen to do the disinfection today is very, very important; market places, lorry stations where you have people coming in and going out,” the MCE said.