- On December 31, 2014
Listen To The Story
SEND-GHANA on 9th May, 2014, launched its latest District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) research report titled “Making the Two Percent of the District Assemblies Common Fund Work for Persons with Disability,” in Accra.
Recounting the beginning of SEND-GHANA’s work on the DACF, George Osei-Bimpeh, Country Director of SEND-GHANA recollects that, some few years ago, SEND-GHANA had several calls from its stakeholders asking about what SEND-GHANA as a policy research and advocacy organisation that has established itself as a gate keeper was doing about the DACF.
In his opening remarks, Osei-Bimpeh said, “we listened to that call and followed it up in 2010 and conducted a study that measured the level of compliance with the guidelines regarding the utilization or management of the DACF.
At that time, one fundamental issue that came up was that many of the Districts were disbursing monies to persons with disability yet they did not have Disability Fund Management Committees (DFMCs).
The primary work of these committees was to receive application, vet them and approve and make recommendation for disbursement.
The first issue that drew our attention was why the District failed in opening an account for the fund. The second was the absence of DFMCs.
Many of them do not have accounts but they were disbursing funds.
This tells you that there were governance challenges with the way most assemblies were managing the DACF.
When we launched the report and followed it up with subsequent engagement with stakeholders, we succeeded in persuading the District Assemblies to open accounts for the funds and establish DFMCs.
We don’t want to end there.
This is what has necessitated this report.”
The study confirmed the existence of DFMCs in all the 15 districts.
The study also revealed that about forty per cent (40%) of sampled districts do not have National Council on Persons with Disability (NCPDs) representatives on the DFMCs rendering monitoring partially ineffective.
Exigencies of particular situations rather than what the guidelines stipulate have become reason for meetings of DFMCs.
The study observes that sitting allowances for DMFC members, 71 per cent of them take the same amount as offered to Assembly Members (GH?30.00 on average). This is consistent with the DACF guidelines.
According to the report, 29 per cent of DMFC members take allowances higher than the recommended amount for DFMC members.
The report revealed that all chairpersons of the committees in the 15 districts were appointed through consensus reached by the committee members.
Significantly, the report notes that, almost 90 per cent of the chairpersons double as chairpersons of the Social Services Committee of the 15 Assemblies. This can blur the process of accountability and encourage nepotism.
Conspicuously missing in the guideline is a clear-cut criterion for the selection of a chairperson for the DFMCs.
The report observed that members of the committees generally had fair understanding of their roles and responsibilities.
Most Districts surveyed could not provide any documentary evidence of any report on the management of the two per cent of the DACF.
Making a presentation on the report, Adamu Munkaila, Programme Officer of SEND-GHANA for the Upper West region bemoaned the practice of District Assemblies borrowing from the fund. This is due to the fact that the Municipal/District Coordinating Director and the Municipal/District Finance Officer serves as signatories to the account of the fund. He therefore advised that the guidelines should be looked at again.
The report confirms the existence of the DFMCs in all the 15 districts covered but notes that there is disparity in the formation of the committees from one district to the other.
The situation has been compounded by the non-existence of NCPDs representative in most of the districts as required by the guidelines.
Forty per cent (40%) of sampled districts do not have NCPDs representatives on the DFMCs.
The flexibility with which the guidelines allow the committees to co-opt members with special skills has resulted in situations where the membership of some committees has exceeded the required number with some members with skills which are not reflective of stipulated criteria.
The research was conducted in 15 selected districts.