The Minority NDC Caucus in Parliament has threatened to go to the Supreme Court to seek for redress if the government goes ahead to place a cap on the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
The government in its 2017 Budget Statement and Economic Policy gave indication that it will slash all statutory funds by 25% to finance the one-district-one-factory and free SHS policies.
Should this be implemented, it means that the 7.5% of all total revenue of the country that goes to the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) will be slashed down to 5%.
This, the NDC Minority Caucus contends, will be suicidal to the progress of the 216 Assemblies in the country.
The Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, commenting on the budget estimate for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Tuesday, told Parliament that should the government carry out its intentions, it will be a breach of the 1992 Constitution and the Local Governance Act, 936 of 2016.
In effect, he said his side will have no option than to go to the Supreme Court to seek for interpretation over the matter.
“Mr. Speaker, I am by this, serving notice that we intend to invoke the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on this matter to seek an interpretation on the difference between total revenue as defined in Article 252 of the Constitution and also total revenue as defined in the Local Governance Act, 936 of 2016 and in particular, to relate it to the Minister’s quest to dedicate 5% of tax revenue. So, we have certain confusion – the Constitution says not less than 5% of total revenue – Mr. Speaker even given that we are relying on the definition of total revenue in the Local Governance Act, it says total revenue – less grant tax revenue of petroleum and less …Mr. Speaker so if we assume that total revenue of Ghana this year is GH?34billion as was reported by the Minister for Finance, let as assume even though wrongly that already there exist an Act of Parliament which puts the District Assemblies Common Fund at 7.5% not 5%. So, already you are in breach of the legislation. There is also an Act of Parliament which increased the District Assemblies Common Fund to 7.5%.”
“Mr. Speaker, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament shall annually make provision to the District Assemblies Common Fund not less than 5% of the total revenue. So, we are assuming that not less than 5%, mathematically meaning it can be more than 5% constitutionally. That is why we passed the Act increasing it to 7.5%.Now even when the law says 7.5%, you are disrespecting it. So far as we are within the constitutional remit of not less than 5% you say that you are within the constitutional provision. But if you go to the budget of total revenue provided as GH?34billion, the allocation to the District Assemblies Common Fund for this year is GH?1.5billion – mathematically, if you calculate 5% of this, it is GH?1.7%billion. So, there is a deficit of GH?143million even when using the Minister’s definition,” he explained.
Hon. Iddrisu commenting further said the Minority is committed to the deepening of the decentralization process and so will not sit down unconcerned for the laws of the country to be breached.