Some Members of Parliament (MP) on the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development have waded into the raging rift between the Sector Minister, Dan Botwe and Administrator of the Districts Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Irene Naa Torshie Addo-Lartey.
It appears the 20-member select committee is divided over who to support following a series of complaints on how the disagreements between the two appointees are affecting local governance.
Whereas some in radio and television interviews are calling for a truce, others are appealing to the President to intervene and ensure that there is cordiality between the top guns.
Meanwhile, Ghana’s seat of Government, the Jubilee House, has been enveloped in an uneasy calm over the continuous nature of the disagreements between the high-principled Dan Botwe, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, on one side and the adorable Irene Naa Torshie Addo-Lartey, Administrator of the Districts Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), the disbursement of District Common Funds in a style which would be in the best interest of Government.
The impasse between the two government appointees seems irresolvable even after the President himself, Nana Akufo-Addo is said to have requested to host a meeting between the two.
Deep throats from the corridors of power have told The New Publisher that Dan Botwe has said he feels very strongly undermined by the lack of cooperation he claims to be coming from Naa Torshie and he would be better off if he resigns as a Minister rather than continue to occupy an office that is undermined continuously and his complaints to the appointing authority has not yielded any results.
There are reports that a Deputy Chief of Staff, Carlos Von Brazzi, a renowned Consultant on Political-Economical & Security matters has been tasked to resolve the impasse between the two but the situation is like peeling an onion of several layers and has been giving him teary eyes.
Dan Botwe, to officially document his frustrations, has written a letter to President Nana Akufo-Addo in which he strongly fingered Irene Naa Torshie Addo-Lartey, over what he described as her refusal to cooperate with his Ministry in the equitable allocation and disbursement of Common Funds.
The letter, dated Monday, July 10, 2023, reads:
The Ministry would like to bring to the attention of His Excellency the President challenges being faced in the utilization of the District Assemblies Common Fund for the development of the District Assemblies as a result of a lack of cooperation from the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator.
In the current constraint, we are of the considered view that strategically distributing available resources is crucial for Government.
Section 125 of the Local Governance Act, 206 (Act 936) establishes the District Assemblies Common Fund and section 125 (3) of the Act supra indicated, “The amounts of money that accrue to the Common Fund shall be distributed among the District Assemblies on the basis of a formula approved by Parliament”
The Ministry for Local Government and Rural Development has the mandate to provide a coordinating and supervisory role over the activities of the MMDAs and to guide their development activities.
Annually, the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund proposes the formula for distribution of the District Assemblies Common Fund to the Parliament of Ghana.
Once the approval is done, the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund has the function under section 129 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) to “administer and distribute amounts of money paid into the Common Fund among the District Assemblies in accordance with the formula approved by Parliament.
Section 126 (3) of the same Act states; The Minister shall in consultation with the Minister responsible for Finance, determine the category of expenditure of the approved development budget of District Assemblies that must in each year be met out of amounts received by the District Assemblies from the District Assemblies Common Fund.
Part of the approved formula/allocation are activities like;
- National Projects
- Special Projects
- Distressed District Support
- Reserve funds
The Ministry holds the view that, when it comes to the above activities in the approved formula, the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund does not have the authority to determine the distribution unilaterally, as it must sit within a broad strategic framework of Government.
As the supervisory Ministry of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) and the Ministry responsible for coordinating the MMDAs, we are of the view that the mandate to determine which Districts receive such support and special attention, lies with the Ministry. We are of the firm belief that the trigger for distribution should be initiated by the Ministry, on behalf of the Government, to ensure it sits well within the broad government strategy.
Even more worrying is the fact that, as the Ministry responsible for the MMDAs we are not involved, engaged or consulted in any form by the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund in the development of the formula proposed to Parliament.
We are of the view that Government would be more efficient in the utilization of such resources if we align the decision-making process with all relevant stakeholders.
It is instructive for His Excellency to note that this Ministry has not had the expected level of cooperation from the Office of the Administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund. In the past two (2) years and three (3) months, since I have been in the Ministry, efforts to get the Office of the Administrator of District Assemblies Common Fund to align with the Ministry in the strategic determination of the beneficiary Districts of such allocations have not been successful.
In the meantime, the Ministry has requested from the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator, details of the disbursement done so far from the approved allocations to enable the Ministry to align and strategize to aid equity and strategic development of the MMDAs.
However, the Office of the District Assemblies Common Fund Administrator has since refused to respond to my letter. (Copy of letter attached).
In Conclusion, this Ministry is of the view that the trigger for the utilization of the activities and allocations stated above can and should only be done by the Minister for Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, on behalf of the Government to ensure consistency with Government’s aspiration for development of the MMDAs.
I count on your continued support.
DANIEL BOTWE (MP)