Access and Use of the Members of Parliament Share of the District Assemblies Common Fund in Selected Constituencies in Ghana


The question of how best developing countries must organize and allocate resources for effective decentralization and local governance has been one that scholars have been grappling with for decades. Several models have been proposed by scholars as a way of providing the most effective and judicious allocation of resources for local government. The focus of this study was to examine the issues of access and use of the Members of Parliament (MPs) share of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) in selected constituencies in Ghana. The objectives of the study were to identify the amount selected MP's receive from the District Assembly Common Fund, identify challenges MP’s encounter when accessing the fund, examine the use of the MP’s share of the District Assembly Common Fund, and assess the developmental performance of MPs share of the DACF in the selected constituencies over the years. The study adopted the qualitative approach and made use of the case study design in gathering the requisite data for the study. The purposive sampling technique was used to select 16 respondents for the study and data was gathered through interviews. The data gathered from interviews was transcribed, analyzed and organized into categories, based on themes, concepts, or similar features in order to bring order, meaning and interpretation to the data gathered from the samples selected. The study found that the MPs receive quarterly disbursements averaging Ghc 50,000. This sums up to a total of Ghc 800,000 in the four years in office for each MP. The study also found that the MPs share of the fund is always in arrears and is not paid on time, and even when the funds are released there are delays in administrative processes to get the funds paid to the MPs. In addition, the study established from the MPs perspective that the fund is inadequate to undertake big development projects. The study found that the fund is generally used for minor projects such as payment of medical bills of vulnerable people, payment of school fees for needy pupils, supply of portable water through digging bore holes, supply of agro-chemicals, fertilizers, and farm implements at subsidized prices etc. it could be inferred from the findings that the developmental impact/performance of the MPs share of the DACF is minimal because constitutionally, no law supports the fund and this accounts for the paltry nature of the amount and consequently the minimal developmental performance of the fund. The study recommends that government either increases the amount allocated to MPs so that they can undertake significant developmental projects or they should abolish it and make the position of MCEs/DCEs electable so that MCEs/DCEs would have a political interest in using the monies allocated for developing their constituencies judiciously. The study also recommends that the challenges to accessing the fund - such as delays in the disbursement of funds, non-availability of the MCEs and their officers for processing of release of funds, and too much bureaucracy when the MPs party is no longer in government – should be addressed to make the process smooth and less cumbersome. Furthermore, the developmental performance of the MPs share of the common fund could be made significant by the MPs looking for additional sources of funds such as local partners to bring development projects. Finally, the study recommends that there should be a policy which requires MPs to bring their intended projects to parliament for vetting and open tender processes to properly vet and monitor MPs use of their share of the common fund.




Members of Parliament, District Assemblies, Selected Constituencies, Ghana