Honorary Vice President IMANI Ghana, Bright Simons, has raised pertinent questions regarding the proposed one million-dollar, one constituency scheme by the incoming New Patriotic Party government.
The NPP in August promised to provide each of the 275 constituencies in the country with a million-dollar each year to enable them deal with problems that are specific to them.
It explained this pro-poor intervention would form part of the party’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Project (IPEP).
Ahead of the party’s taking over of the reign of governance, Mr Simons said the proposal has now moved from being hypothetical and raised some questions as to how it would be administered, suggesting several options for the incoming government to consider.
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In a Facebook post, Mr Simons wondered whether the offices of the Members of Parliament, which are the only administrative structures at the constituencies, would be the one to manage the one million dollar per constituency fund.
Mr Simons is also questioning why each constituency should be given the same amount whereas the population the constituencies and their needs differ.
“Why give each constituency $1 million when needs and populations vary so much?,” he asked
Read his full analysis
1. The only administrative structures at constituency level are the MP offices. Will MPs be responsible for managing this new fund? Then why not scrap districts and make the idea of electing DCEs redundant as MPs are elected? Then the resources available to DCEs can be handed over to the MP offices to manage. What is the point of creating a parallel administrative structure at constituency level?
2. Currently, each district receives on average $1.8 million.
If the money sent to the districts were instead sent to constituencies, each one would receive roughly $1.4 million.The OMC scheme would thus imply a 70% increase in the funds allocated to local governments. This looks amazing until one realises that currently only 40% of the funds allocated to the local government entities actually get to them, due to high bureaucratic costs at the level of the funds’ managers in Accra. Instead of a 70% increase in payments out of the national treasury, why not simply reform the local government financing arrangement to cut down on the 60% overhead?
3. Why give each constituency $1 million when needs and populations vary so much? 6 out of every 10 people in the North falls within the lowest fifth of the country’s wealth structure, whilst in Accra the corresponding figure is less than 2 out of 10 people. Whilst there are about 320,000 people in Asawase and 530,000 people in Weija/Ga-South, there are less than 60,000 people in Dormaa East, Sissala West, and Lambussie Karni. Why should these districts all get the same amount?