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DACF STIMULATING DEVELOPMENT IN DISTRICTS

The Common Fund

A central part of the countrys democratisation process is administrative decentralisation. This is the process where the Regions and Districts are given the power to take most of the decisions on development in their localities on their own. But administrative decentralisation will not be effective without the financial independence and resources to run operations and improve the lives of people in the Districts. It is on this basis that, the District Assembly Common Fund, DACF, was established in 1993.

Pillar for Projects

There is evidence from all over the country that the Common Fund has since its inception been the primary source of project funding in the MMDAs. Over the last 20 years, the Common Fund has been the pillar of a vast range of socio-economic projects, including physical infrastructure and human resource development at the District level. The Common Fund has assisted in the implementation of various projects in the Districts, focusing on priority areas such as education, health care delivery, potable water supply, market infrastructure, sanitation, roads and drains construction among others.

Suhum

In the Suhum Municipality in the Eastern Region for instance, the Fund is the main source of funding for the development projects undertaken by the Assembly. According to the Municipal Chief Executive, Mr. Samuel Fleischer- Kwabi, their share of the Fund has, among other things, aided the Assembly to construct a number of basic school blocks, modern public toilets and the new Municipal Assembly Hall and offices.

Kwahu South

In the Kwahu South District, the District Chief Executive, Mr. Joseph Omari, listed a number of infrastructural projects that have been undertaken with the Assemblys allocations from the Common Fund. These include the construction of classroom blocks for basic schools in many communities, the rehabilitation of major markets and the construction of sanitation facilities in communities across the District.

Zabzugu

Similar successes have been achieved in the Northern Region where the DCE of Zabzugu District, Mr. Issifu Alidu Laa-Bandou, underscored the importance of the DACF, when he said his predecessors would not have been able to implement any development project in the area without the help of the Common Fund.

Environment and Health

The Common Fund has also been the mainstay of virtually all environmental sanitation projects in the Districts as well as provided funds for the construction of a Community-based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) compounds, which has made access to health a reality for many deprived and rural communities. In the Kwahu South District, money from the Common Fund was used to build a community health centre at Ntwereasi and in the Zabzugu District money from the Fund is being used for the implementation of the District Response Initiative on HIV/AIDS and Malaria Control Programme.

Funding of School Feeding Programme

The Common Fund has also been used for some of the major social intervention programmes in the country. The success of the School Feeding Programme (SFP), which has led to high enrolment in basic schools, can be attributed largely to funding from the Common Fund. The Programme was started with donor funding but this was withdrawn after a few years. The Common Fund stepped in to support the programme and currently is the sole source of funding for the SFP. The Programme has since been extended to many more schools, over 1,700 across every Region and District in the country.


Delay in Release of Funds

While there is no denying the fact that, the Fund has since its inception in 1993 been the primary source of project funding for the MMDAs and its benefits are well extolled, there are complaints about the delays that characterise release of monies to the Assemblies.

The increasingly long delays in the release of the Common Fund to the Districts is negatively affecting the implementation of their development projects and programmes. The MCE for Suhum, Mr. Fleischer-Kwabi, noted that, currently it has become very difficult to implement projects due to the long delays in releases. It throws our budget out of plan since delays increase the cost of project implementation as executed contracts have to be paid with additional cost.

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