Alima Mahama Jabs Former Prez on Common Fund Claims
The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hajia Alima Mahama, has countered former president John Mahama’s claims that government’s decision to cap some statutory funds was a step in the wrong direction.
The former president, during his Unity Walk in Bolgatanga last week, argued that the Akufo-Addo-led administration was unable to raise funds because it had made lots of campaign promises and banked its hopes on statutory funds.
According to him, the capping of funds to the district assemblies from 7.5% to 5% had laden most of the assemblies.
But Hajia Mahama says, though the Common Fund has been pegged at 5% from 7.5%, John Mahama’s claim that the districts were facing challenges as a result was “strange”.
Taking her turn at the Meet the Press series in Accra yesterday, the minister took time to school the former president on the realities on the ground.
According to her, in 2016, when the total amount under the District Common Fund (DCF) was GH¢1.53B and at 7.5%, the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government had disbursed a total of GH¢461,245,117.86 while the present government had allocated GH¢663,182,029.70 in 2017 at 5% cap with a budget of GH¢1.52B.
With the above figures on paper, Hajia Mahama opined that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is performing better than the NDC did.
“With the capping of 5% in 2017, direct payment to MMDA’s was GH¢663,182,029.70, so what is he talking about? He should come for the figures and he will see how much money we are actually transferring to the districts,” she noted.
She continued: “He is saying there is no money for clinics and schools; I am so surprised again that he can say that because as president, he knows that Ministry of Education and Ghana Health Service have a huge budget that provides for basic schools and SHS infrastructure. This happens all the time. It happened in his time and it is happening in our time.
The minister revealed that the Education ministry had embarked on the construction of 71 kindergarten, 50 basic schools and the renovation of senior high schools.
“There is construction going on when it comes to schools and clinics. GETFund is also providing in this process. So, for him to say that this is not happening, is strange,” she said.
Hajia Mahama revealed that there were many more interventions directed to the districts for them to run their programmes and among them was the release of some GH¢204million from the District Development Fund (DDF), something she claims the NDC, until their exit, had not done since 2013.
“The districts are not solely dependent on the district common fund. In fact, we are discouraging the districts from depending on the common fund. We are encouraging them to work harder on their revenue mobilisation,” Hajia Mahama stressed.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ email@example.com