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Regional News of Monday, 31 March 2014

Source: Daily Heritage

District Assemblies losing confidence in Parliament

District Assemblies in the country are beginning to lose confidence in Parliament following their inability to ensure that statutory funds were released on time, the second Deputy Minority Chief Whip has disclosed.

The Second Deputy Minority Whip, Ignatius Baffour Awuah, explained that the continuous delay in release and payment of statutory funds to the districts was causing disaffection for Members of Parliament from the districts.

Mr. Awuah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Sunyani West, made this known on the floor of Parliament last week noting that the issue was serious and thus needed the attention of the House.

But the Minister for Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga, pointed out that the Ministry for Finance had released funds to the administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for payments.

But Mr. Awuah noted that the Finance Ministry’s release of funds did not meant payments had been made to the various assemblies because it takes long time to complete the processes for payments to be made to the assemblies.

He stated that the problem was not just with the District Assemblies but GetFund and the National Health Insurance Scheme and noted that for last year, GetFund had only 35% of its total releases.

The Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in contributing to the issue noted that it was a genuine issue being raised hence the delay in releasing the funds was worrying.

“We should be worried if the constitutional provisions and acts are being observed in the breach,” the minority leader noted.

He, however, urged members of the House to give the finance minister some time to appear before Parliament to provide explanations and actions being taken on the issue.

Majority Leader, Dr. Benjamin Kunbour, on his part, agreed with the Minority Leader on giving the minister some time to explain and further noted that the issue had been with them for a long time and thus ought to be dealt with.

Dr. Kunbour further assured members that leadership of the House would not do anything to embarrass them as they prepare to go to their constituencies during the break.