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General News of Thursday, 16 February 2017


Review formula for common fund allocations for MPs — Quashigah

There should be a review of the formula for common fund allocations to Members of Parliament (MPs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Keta Constituency, Mr Richard Quashigah, has advocated.

He said the current formula where MPs and MMDCEs with more population received equal funds as their colleagues with less population was not fair.

That, he said, was because MPs and MMDCEs with less population could embark upon projects that would have wider reach than their colleagues with more population.

Mr Quashigah was contributing to a statement made by the MP for Chereponi, Mr Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite, on improving equity in resource allocation in ensuring the wellbeing of the citizenry across the country.

Imbalances in allocation

Mr Quashigah said some of the constituencies were very large while others were small.

"There are constituencies with a population close to 70,000 and others with about 20,000. But when we are being given MPs Common fund, it cuts across. And if somebody has only 20,000 people and I have 100,000 to deal with, it will obviously reflect an imbalance where the constituency with the population of 20,000 will be able to do more with what it gets as MP's common fund and people like me who have a population of 100,000 will be like a drop in an ocean and the people will not feel it," he said

Besides, the legislator said a district that had the strength to get funds from the central government through various ways would be adjudged as doing better than some other assemblies.

"So that at the end of the day, a constituency such as North Tongu on the league table wil be rated as not having done well, whereas some small assemblies which had a lot of resources would be considered as having done well. That is a clear imbalance," he said.

New laws

Mr Quashigah said Parliament had a mandate to look at those imbalances and fashion out laws and legislate in order to correct those imbalances.

"It is very pertinent. Other than that, we will continue to have some sections of our country in a continuous economic deprivation as compared to others that are making tremendous progress," he said.

Mr Quashigah said if international organisations wanted to make assessments, it would seem as one area doing well, compared to another area which was not doing well, without considering the fact that the area doing well was attracting more resources than the others.

Other contributions

The MP for Adaklu, Mr Kwame Agbodza, also called for the skewing of resource allocations to less endowed districts.

For instance, he said large assemblies such as the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Tema Municipal Assembly should not get equal funds as less endowed assemblies since they could use their internally generated funds to do their own projects and programmes.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said for the time being there was a constitutional imperative and that was Article 252 (3) that talked about how to distribute the accruals into the District Assemblies Common Fund.

He said per the law, the money should be distributed among all the district assemblies based on the formula.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said until MPs took a second look at the provision, "we are bound by the constitutional imperative."

However, he said the considerations of less endowed districts found expression in the formula that was approved by Parliament annually.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Mr James Avedzi, said the formula for allocating the funds was skewed in favour of the less developed districts "so that it is not distributed equally among all the district assemblies."

He said it should be done in such a way that those less endowed districts would receive more.

"In that way, we will be working towards bridging the gap between the poor and the rich districts," he said.