The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mohammed Adjei Sowah, has emphasised the need to incorporate Local Economic Development (LED) in the guidelines used to assess Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
According to him, this would enable MMDAs to prioritise their programmes and activities to create jobs by building on the comparative advantages and the unique characteristics of their localities.
Mayor Sowah said this on Tuesday when he presented the 2021 - 2024 composite budget at the launch of the annual regional budget hearing of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Accra, organised by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Greater Regional Coordinating Council.
The hearings, instituted in 2011, forms part of the fiscal decentralisation reforms to provide an opportunity for the MMDAs to review their performance and discuss priority programmes and projects in the coming year within the national framework.
The Mayor expressed concerns over the inability to properly situate LED within the functions of the assemblies although it forms part of the criteria used in the division of the local authority into smaller jurisdictions.
"We are not too sure where the ministry of local government wants to situate local economic development within the functions of the assemblies. There are three main criteria used for the creating assemblies but the main element of economic viability is not considered as a priority in assessing MMDAs hence the emphasis on issues to be assessed on," he said.
He noted that while LED had proven to be an attractive local development strategy, very little attention had been devoted to the policy and practice in Ghana.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, in a speech read on his behalf urged MMDAs to leverage on their potentials to increase Internally Generated Funds (IGF) since next year would be equally difficult.
He entreated MMDAs to strictly adhere to the use of the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information (GIFMIS) in preparing their budgets as contained in the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act 2016, Act 912 regardless of the sources of revenue to avoid sanctions.
" it has come to my attention that some key officials involved in financial management have not been using the GIFMIS for the processing of financial transactions, accounting and reporting required... Let me strongly caution MMDCEs from the procurement and use of systems and software not approved by relevant institutions as required by law," he said.
He also charged Assemblies to adopt the use of technology to maximise their revenue and urged MMDCEs to personally lead the crusade to improve internal revenue generation.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Ishmael Ashitey, implored MMDAs and their budget committees to ensure that their 2021 Composite Budget allocates adequate funds for LED, social services, infrastructure delivery and management as well as environmental and sanitation management.
He also directed MMDAs to use the Internally Generated Funds Strategy and Reference Guide issued by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development as a reference point in the mapping out of IGF mobilisation strategies.