Reports reaching The Al-Hajj has it that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has slashed the GHC 1 million seed money promised the 46 new districts that were created under the late Prof. John Atta Mills? administration to GHC 500, 000.
Though the Deputy Local Government Minister, Alhaji Baba Jamal rebuff the claim, insisting the Finance Ministry was yet to release funds for disbursement, this paper gathered that some of the new districts, particularly in the Northern and Upper East regions have received GHC 800, 000 instead of the GHC 1 million.
The remaining districts in the two regions are yet to receive any cash inflow from the government aside monies they were given for their inauguration last year.
Information available to The Al-Hajj shows that, for want of money to fulfil the late President?s promise, some Chief Executives in the Northern and Upper East regions that have received GHC 800, 000 from the Ministry have been asked not to voice it out to the remaining districts due to the government?s intension to reduce the money further down to GHC 500.000.
This, Alhaji Baba Jamal said cannot be true in the sense that the proposed GHC 1 million seed capital for the new districts was included in the 2013 national budget which he said ?the Local Government Ministry has not received its budgetary allocation from the Finance Ministry to start any disbursement not to talk of slashing the amount.?
Though admitting some monies have been paid to the new districts, the Deputy Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for Akwatia constituency in the Eastern region explained that, the new districts were only given ?preparatory sums? to start operating.
While being inaugurated in June last year, the then Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, disclosed that the government had made provision for seed money of GHC 1m for each of the 46 new districts.
Indeed, prior to the bill creating the new districts receiving parliamentary approval and whiles presenting the 2012 budget to Parliament, the Minister of Finance, Dr.Kwabena Duffuor stated: ?as part of the NDC?s commitment to deepening democracy and local development, 46 new districts have been created and GHC1 million as start-up capital per district has been provided to meet their initial infrastructural needs?.
In a position running counter to the Deputy Local Government?s stands, whiles this paper?s checks revealed that some of the new assemblies since it?s inauguration have not received monies as promised them, President John Mahama, whiles addressing a rally at Juaboso in the Western region in the heat of the 2012 campaign stated categorically that the government had given the new districts the GHC 1 million package promised by the his predecessor.
The President stated ?during the previous regime, new districts were also created but we have not just created, but supported all the newly created districts with One Million Ghana Cedis each as seed money for them to effectively start their operations.?
The contrasting positions on the disbursement of the money has caused some of the Chief Executives of the new districts to wonder whether the government was committed to its promise, especially when some of the affected districts don?t even have offices for their staffs and other facilities.
Whiles the conflicting account on whether GHC1 promise has been disbursed or not, the immediate past Local Government Minister, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo whose regime the districts were created told this reporter that the new districts have been given part of the money.
Short of mentioning the exact amount that was given each of the districts, Mr. Ampofo said, ?I know when they were created; part of the GHC 1 was given them to hire offices, buy vehicles and other things?you know, as a new district they needed start-up capital?but if you need details of it, you can check from the District Assemblies Common Fund office.?