1.1 Background of the Report
For the past two decades of Ghana’s decentralization practice , reforms have been effected with the aim of ensuring that governance and development is brought closer to the citizens. According to Badu (2007) , most of these reforms were targeted at the creation of political, economic, social and sustainable growth and development . Prior to the 1988 Local Government Reforms, District Assemblies in Ghana were required to plan and prepare their budgets and generate enough revenue to finance their local development programmes. However, the reforms of fiscal decentralization programmes which were adopted by the central government to delegate this fiscal responsibility to the local bodies became a major challenge as a result of improper planning and investment capital at the local level (Baffour, 2008).
The government of Ghana , with the inception of the local government reform of 1988 , embarked on the implementation of a comprehensive policy to decentralize the system of government. Public authority to plan, resources and personnel were transferred from the central government authority to regional and district jurisdictions. This policy originated from the Local Government Law of 1988 (PNDCL 207) and the subsequent passing of the Local Government Act of 1993, Act 462 and recently the Local Governance Act , 2016 (Act 936) . The reforms identified five main sources of revenue to the District Assemblies. These included the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), internally generated funds through local taxation, loans, permits, and other sources such as sale of lands as well as ceded revenue (as it was then), which was to deal with a number of lesser tax fields of the central government (Aryee, 2003). The DACF over the years has served as the primary source of providing a constitutionally stipulated minimum share of government revenue to the District Assemblies. The internally generated funds which in most cases had not been adequate, served mostly as the source of financing recurrent expenditure of the Assemblies as against the DACF , District Development Fund (DDF) , and Urban Development Grant (UDG ) which are used to finance capital expenditure in the Assemblies in recent times.
The District Assemblies in Ghana are required to provide administrative, fiscal, social services and amenities to their residents. Some of these responsibilities , which hitherto were being performed by the central government , have been increasing in nature as a result of the gradual decentralization to the local governments. In view of the increasing functions, several reforms and programmes were aimed at managing the budgetary processes such as the introduction of the composite budgeting system as well as adequate mobilization of local revenue for the development of the local areas. However, majority of the revenues of the District Assemblies, generated from the identified sources , are woefully inadequate to support recurrent expenditure much more to finance the delivery and running of basic infrastructure and services needed by the local communities (Badu, 2007). These District Assemblies have become solely dependent on the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) for their infrastructural development. In recent times however, the delay in the release of this fund as a result of shortfalls in revenue inflow to the central government has almost brought most of these Assemblies to a standstill. This situation has negatively affected the administrative, social, economic and the infrastructural development of the Assemblies. This has led to the need for the Assemblies to improve revenue generation for infrastructural and other development projects in the Assemblies.
In its desire to strengthen these Assemblies in their revenue generation and further deepen fiscal decentralization, the government of Ghana has put in place some reforms as stated in the 2017 and 2018 budget statements respectively. These reforms include the need to pay serious attention to local revenue generation and management by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and to explore other financing mechanisms. This would give local Government authorities greater autonomy from the central Government. It also includes the rollout of a well-defined policy framework that enables the expansion of the base of existing MMDA revenue sources, the identification of new sources of revenue, and the effective administration of collection systems. These revenues must come from a combination of fees and charges, local taxes, shared taxes as outlined in Schedules 8 ,10 , 11 , and 12 of the Local Governance Act 2016 , ( Act 936 ) and Central Government transfers.
In its quest to advance the fiscal decentralization reforms, the government of Ghana has established an effective public and social accountability mechanism to ensure that the resources mobilized by the Assemblies are put to use for the benefit of ordinary Ghanaians. To this effect , the Public Financial Management (PFM) templates have been rolled out to all Districts to deepen citizens’ participation in the financial management of the MMDAs across the country. Budget reform activities are continuing to make MMDAs budgets consistent with National Budgeting processes and formats.In 2016 , the Ministries of Finance and Local Government and Rural Development rolled out the IGF strategy for implementation by all MMDAs to improve IGF identification , collection , utilization and reporting (GOG Budget Statement , 2016 ).
The government has initiated policies which will ensure that the Assemblies generate enough revenues to undertake their development projects. The National Identification Scheme and the National Digital Address System are to be implemented as part of measures to formalize the economy and to broaden tax base.These involve using the most equitable and efficient administrative procedures to make the tax system more transparent and fair.The Ministry of Finance is to create a common Geographical Information System (GIS) for establishment and implementation of a comprehensive Street Naming and Property Addressing database.Ghana Post is to develop postal Codes, with Digital Addresses embossed on all landed properties nationwide , to feed into the National Identification System (GOG Budget Statement , 2018 ).
However , it is also important to make more effective and efficient the administration of collection systems to generate these revenues at the local level. *The Local Government Act, 1993, Act 462 mandates Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to be the representatives of Central Government at Local level. They are required to generate sufficient revenue internally to support them to carry out developmental projects within their jurisdiction
*For central and local governments to raise additional revenue, Adenike (2007) states that they need to expand the tax base and strengthen the revenue administration systems. In his view taxation is the most efficient and effective means of raising revenue for both central and local governments. In the case of MMDAs, they do not generate enough from taxation because greater part of taxes paid go to the Central Governments; rather they generate from rates, fees, fines, signage, etc. Kokor (2001) has stated that financing local government programmes in Ghana by the MMDAs has become a topical problem as a result of the inability of the Assemblies to mobilize substantial revenue from their areas of jurisdiction. Despite the numerous resources available to the various MMDAs, they have not been able to actualize the mobilization for their full benefit making the Assemblies dependent on the Central Government for their developmental programmes. Asibuo (1996) argue that the strengthening of domestic revenue base is key to creating fiscal space for local developmental needs . Thus, this study seeks to examine how District Assemblies can improve the mobilization of their IGF for infrastructure development with a focus on the Kwahu West Municipal Assembly.
1.2 Profile of Organization
The Kwahu West Municipal Assembly was carved out of Kwahu South District Assembly as Kwahu West District Assembly in August, 2004 by a Legislative Instrument 1589. It was however upgraded into a Municipal status in July 2007 by Legislative Instrument 1870. It is one of the twenty-six (26) Municipals District Assemblies in the Eastern Region. It has Nkawkaw as its administrative Municipal Capital which is the second largest urban town in the Eastern Region. The Municipal consists of twenty-six (26) electoral areas and represented in the general assembly by elected and appointed assembly members. The composition of the assembly is made up of 26 elected members, 13 appointed members, 1 Member of Parliament and the municipal chief executive. The assembly has four zonal councils (Kwahu Nsaba/Jejeti, Fodoa, Awenade and Nkawkaw), all staffed to help facilitate the operations of its functions at the local level by serving as coordinating centres. The general assembly is headed by an elected presiding member with the municipal coordinating director as the secretary. The assembly has set up seven sub-committees which facilitate the performance of its statutory functions. Furthermore, the Municipal Assembly has all the decentralized departments and other quasi government organizations such as National Commission and Civil Education, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Ghana Health Service among others.
Location and Size
The Kwahu West Municipality is located in the Eastern region of Ghana, 241kms North-West of Ghana’s Capital, Accra. It lies between latitudes 6o30′ North, and 7o North and longitudes 0o30′ West and 1o West of the equator. The Municipality is bordered to the North by Kwahu South, to the West by Asante-Akim South Municipality and to the South by Birim North and to the East by Atiwa District. The Municipality has a total land size of 414km2 representing 2.2 percent of the total land area in the Eastern Region. It has 214 settlements within its jurisdiction with a population density of 1,214 persons per square Kilometers of land. (www.ghanadistricts.com accessed on 02/03/2018).
Figure 1.0 :
Source: Town ; Country Planning Department – Kwahu West Municipal Assembly
The 2010 Population and Housing Census put the total population of the municipality at 93,584 which accounts for about 3.6 percent of the population in the Eastern region. Out of this figure, 48 percent are males with 52 percent being females. More than half (51.3%) of the population are in urban areas while 48.3 percent reside in rural areas. This is reflected in the municipal’s contribution of 4.2 percent to the regional urban population, which is higher than its contribution to the region’s rural population (3.1%). Interestingly, all the urban population is located within Nkawkaw, the municipal capital and its suburbs with the rural population scattered in over one hundred localities. Nkawkaw Township makes it one of the most compact localities in the Eastern region ranks second to Koforidua in terms of population. In the same manner, the urban population contains a higher proportion of females (53%) as against 47 percent males.
Business, Trade and Manufacturing
Over 50,000 people in the Kwahu West Municipality stay in urban areas out of an almost 94,000 people (GSS, PHC, 2010). This translates to a large number of people in the Municipal capital who mainly engage in buying and selling and other service areas such as transport among others on daily basis. In view of this, it can be concluded that more than half of the Municipality’s population are engaged in business and trading activities. On manufacturing, quite a substantial number of people are into bakery, Pottery, Dress making, Shoe -making, artisanship and catering, which all have a direct application of business and trading skills. This emphasizes the point that majority of the people are business minded and are therefore economically depending on retail trading for a living. It must be stated that there abound so many raw materials including clay for Pottery, Palm oil for Soap making and oil extraction, vast land and all year round rainfall among others.
A smaller proportion of the people in Kwahu West Municipality are engaged in farming activities. A larger number of these people are found in the periphery of the Municipality with Cocoa, Plantain, Palm nut plantation and maize production being the commonly grown crops. Livestock rearing and Snail production are also practiced on non-commercial bases by some few individuals for household purposes. It is important to indicate that some of the youth in the rural set-up are venturing into Tiger nuts production which is highly consumed in the Municipality. It is however important to indicate that the Municipality is blessed with fertile land which is largely unutilized considering the proportion of people in the agricultural sector and the small size of acres of land cultivated by these few farmers.
Tourism and Mining
The Municipality has three forest reserves namely the Southern Scarp reserve created in 1918, Kado Bebo and Nkawanda reserves all created in 1927 (Forestry Division). Agriculture, Forest Reserves, Timber and lumbering, Medicinal Plants, Minerals and Clay deposits, Caves, Water Falls and Receptive Facilities are some but a few of the potential tourists centres that can be developed to enhance revenue mobilization. The Municipality also has Waterfalls at the mountainous area of its catchment. The Municipality has mineral deposits such as gold and bauxite dotted around several communities which are yet to be commercially exploited. Illegal mining activities (Galamsey) are however on-going in some of the communities endowed with these mineral deposits including Abepotia where it is mostly practiced.
Economic Potentials of the Municipality
The strategic location (Modality) of the Municipal capital town coupled with a high population makes Nkawkaw one of the fastest growing and vibrant commercial towns in the country apart from serving as a converging marketing centre for her boarder Districts. In fact, it is the main marketing centre for agricultural produce and other goods coming from Afram plains, Kumasi and Accra. It therefore has a potential of promoting strong economic linkages with a number of Districts to promote economic growth through trade and investment.
The Municipals traditional market pattern has been in Nkawkaw and its surrounding communities the rural areas do not have well established markets, apart from Jamasi No. 1 and Ekowsu market. The Nkawkaw market functions daily with Mondays and Thursday as major market days. The strategic location of these markets coupled with good accessibility has facilitated their growth leading to congestion and spill-off into the main Accra-Kumasi road.
Conventional banking institutions in the Municipal are Ghana Commercial Bank and Agricultural Rural Development, Barclays Bank, Opportunity International Bank, First National Savings and Loans, Fidelity Bank, First allied and Savings and Loans and Pro Creditall of are located in Nkawkaw. There are six rural banks operating in the Municipality. These are Mponua Rural Bank, Kwahu Rural Bank, Odwen Anomah Rural Bank, Mumuadua Rural Bank, Dumpon Rural Bank and Kwahu Praso all located in Nkawkaw. However, Mponua Rural Bank has a branch at Asuboni Rails. Banking service is therefore skewed towards Nkawkaw, the Municipal capital.
Key Development Issues
Key Development issues of the Municipal Assembly include:
• Degradation of the environment: Deforestation and Illegal Mining
• Bad road network to communities
• Inadequate of logistics for decentralized departments
• Poor waste management and drainage system
• Spatial development control challenges
Vision of the Municipal Assembly
To be the most economically vibrant destination in the region
To support economic development and improve quality of life within the municipality
The broad objectives of Kwahu West Municipal Assembly in line with the GSGDA II are:
• Building more efficient and equitable social service systems
• Providing significant infrastructure that supports economic development
• Improving the quality of life within the Municipality
• Open, responsive and accountable governance
Figure 2 : Decentralized Departments of the Municipal Assembly and their
Central Administration Serves as the Secretariat of the Assembly and is
responsible for the provision of support services and
management of all sections of the Assembly.
Finance Responsible for the sound financial and resource
management of the Assembly.
Education, Youth and Responsible for pre-school, special school, basic
Sports education, youth and sports development and library
services for the Municipality.
Health Advise on the construction, maintenance and
rehabilitation of health facilities and assist to undertake
health education and nutrition programmes.
Budget and Rating Facilitate the preparation and execution of budget of the
Assembly and preparation of annual estimates of the
other departments and institutions of the Assembly.
Waste Management Provision of facilities, infrastructural services and
programmes for effective and efficient waste
management for the improvement in environmental
sanitation, the protection of the environment and
promotion of public health.
Food & Agriculture Provision of extension services in areas of natural
resource management, rural infrastructure and small
scale irrigation. Assist in the implementation of
policies for the Assembly within the national
Physical Planning Management of activities of the Department of Town
and Country Planning and the Department of Parks and
Social Development Assist the Assembly to formulate and implement social
welfare and community development policies within
the framework of national policy
Works Department Assist the Assembly in formulating policies on works
within the framework of national policies and advise on
matters relating to works.
Disaster Management and Assist in planning and implementation of programs to
Prevention prevent disaster in the Municipality within the
framework of national policies
Urban Roads Responsible for the formulation and implementation of
Regional policies, general planning and development of
infrastructure in the Municipality
(Source: Kwahu West Municipal Assembly Departments and Functions)
1.3 Problem Statement
In Ghana ,despite statutory grant provisions and other Central Government financial support, MMDAs are not able to supplement central government efforts to generate sufficient revenue internally for development (Aryee, 2003). They depend mostly on the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) ceded from the Central Government to support their developmental projects. The low revenue mobilization coupled with misapplication and misappropriation of funds by both staff and local authorities has been a major source of worry to the Central Government and Ghanaians as a whole. Having realized that revenue shortfalls constitute a major hindrance to development, MMDAs have been empowered to adopt modern strategies to strengthen and improve revenue mobilization internally. The strategies include the re-evaluation of rateable properties, upward adjustment of all rates annually in the fee-fixing resolution, formation of ad-hoc revenue taskforce to demand payment of arrears, and intensification of revenue mobilization campaigns and educations. Notwithstanding the above mentioned strategies, the problem of low revenue generation continues to be an obstacle to MMDAs especially Kwahu West Municipal Assembly. The MMDAs have sufficiently been empowered by the Local Governance Act , 2016 (Act 936) to mobilize revenue internally for development. Despite their legal backing, local authorities in Ghana are not able to develop effective strategies to mobilize sufficient revenue internally. They rather rely heavily on central government and grants from development partners like the District Development Facility (DDF) and the Urban Development Grant (UDG ) for financial support . Consequently, Kwahu West Municipal Assembly has been experiencing constant revenue shortfalls over the years. For instance for the past three years , 2015, 2016 and 2017 , the Kwahu West Municipal Assembly budgeted for an amount of GH?959,945.00 , GH?1,023,283.08 , and GH?1,253,278.00 respectively .However , in 2015 , 2016 and 2017 it realized an amount of GH?809,391.46 ,GH?903,639.19 and GH?1,105,240.81 respectively (Composite Budget ,KWMA , 2016, 2017, 2018 ) .
The Internally Generated Fund (IGF) was expected to make the biggest contribution to the district assembly’s income since the decentralization concept was for assemblies to generate their own revenue to fund their own projects. However, at the Kwahu West Municipal Assembly (KWMA), the major sources of revenue have been central government funds, internally generated funds, and funds from development partners. A sizeable part of its IGF mostly goes into recurrent expenditures. Over-reliance on the DACF which is woefully inadequate for capital projects is a major challenge to Kwahu West Municipal Assembly because it is not released on time to enable the Assembly use it effectively.
Given the tightness in central Government budget and the inadequate funds from donor agencies, it has become necessary for the assembly to find ways and means of improving its revenue generation in order to meet the higher levels of their developmental needs. The problem that needs to be addressed by this project is why Kwahu West Municipal Assembly is unable to meet its revenue targets despite constitutional and legislative provisions at its disposal, and propose some revenue mobilization strategies for consideration of Kwahu West Municipal Assembly to improve revenue generation for infrastructural projects in the Municipality. There is therefore the urgent need for research in this area to specifically examine the effectiveness of revenue generation by the KWMA towards infrastructural development.
1.4 Purpose of Project
The purpose of the project is to devise ways to improve revenue generation for infrastructural development projects at Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), using Kwahu West Municipal Assembly as a case study. The specific objectives of the project are as follows:
• Identify the existing revenue mobilization strategies at Kwahu West Municipal Assebmly,
• Ascertain factors responsible for low revenue mobilization at Kwahu West Municipal Assembly,
• Find out the challenges faced by Kwahu West Municipal Assembly in its revenue mobilization efforts,
• Recommend strategies for improving revenue mobilization within the Municipal Assembly.
1.5 Significance of the Project
After a decade of introducing and continuous implementation of fiscal decentralization in Ghana, it is significant to measure the performance of MMDAs specifically Kwahu West Municipal Assembly. An independent study to assess or evaluate the Assembly’s performance in terms of its Internally Generated Fund is therefore essential to help Kwahu West Municipal Assembly design efficient and effective mechanisms to mobilize revenue and also manage it prudently for developmental projects within its jurisdiction.
The project is significant in the sense that it would help throw more light on the perennial challenge of shortfalls in revenue mobilization by MMDAs in Ghana by helping MMDA Executives to identify weaknesses in their revenue mobilization drives and show them effective ways of mobilizing revenue. The project is also significant in that it would help central government to be more aware of the problems facing the MMDAs in the mobilization of IGFs and to find appropriate ways to address them. In addition, findings from this project will help the management of MMDAs to have insight into the need to adopt more innovative and improved strategies for revenue mobilization. Finally, the project is significant in the sense that it would add to the existing body of literature and form the basis for further study into the issue of revenue mobilization in Ghana.
PROJECT EXECUTION AND EXPERIENCE
2.1 Schedule of Activities of Students for the Project Work
As part of the study, the Project Team first interacted with the management of KWMA to examine the various challenges the Assembly faced in the generation of revenue. The Project Team then took a general assessment of the revenue generation processes of MMDAs from the era prior to the 1988 Local Government Reforms to that of the Local Government Act , 1993 (Act 4620 ) and used it to write the background of the study. On the basis of the responses gathered from these interactions with the management of KWMA, the Project Team conducted a research into literature to identify the theories , models , and concepts available in tackling the challenges encountered by the Assembly in revenue generation. The next duty carried out was collection of secondary data from the internet , MOFEP website , Annual Accounts (2015-2017 ) and Composite Budget from KWMA and from other related studies on the topic .It was then used to organize the literature review as the chapter two (2).The Project Team then applied the theories gathered in the previous chapter (chapter two(2) ) on real life situations by actually explaining the problem at hand and then designed ways of solving them in chapter three (3). The Project Team extensively adopted the concept of Fiscal Federalism and tested the concept . To solve the problem , the Project Team conducted interviews and designed questionnaires which they administered to respondents personally within some stipulated time.These included selected management staff , Assembly Members , Proposed Unit Committee Members ,and Revenue Collectors .The Project Team finally analysed the data collected and came out with findings of the study as proposed by the respondents.The Project Team then gave recommendations to the management of the KWMA based on the findings and conclusions arrived at through the study.
2.2 Explanation of Theories Used
This section examines some theoretical and empirical literature relevant to the project under study. It also discusses some concepts regarding funding of local governments and background to local government development in Ghana.
2.2.1 Theory of Fiscal Federalism
Fiscal federalism as a concept is an arrangement that involves inter-governmental fiscal relations mostly in contemporary federations and other non-federal systems. It is a general normative framework for the assignment of functions to the different levels of government and the appropriate fiscal instruments for carrying out these functions. It is concerned with understanding which functions and instruments are best centralized and which are best placed in the sphere of decentralized levels of government (Sharma, 2005). In other words, fiscal federalism is a set of guiding principles or concepts that helps in designing financial relations between the national and sub-national levels of government. Sharma (2005) believes that the application of these guiding principles occurs on the platform of fiscal decentralization which can be applied to all countries attempting fiscal decentralization. It concerns the division of public sector functions and finances among different tiers of government in which there is the allocation of tax-raising powers and expenditure responsibilities between these levels of government (Akindele & Olaopa, 2002; Ozo-Eson, 2005). In undertaking this division, the emphasis is on the need to focus on the necessity for improving the performance of the public sector and the provision of their services by ensuring a proper alignment of responsibilities and fiscal instruments to carry out this performance.
In recent times, fiscal federalism has gained much attention in decentralization. According to OzoEson (2005) several reasons account for this. He noted that the increasing burden on central government to deliver its mandate as against the impossibility for them to meet all of the competing needs of their various constituencies, and hence the attempt to build local capacities by delegating responsibilities downward to their regional governments. Furthermore, central governments are looking to local and regional governments to assist them with national economic development strategies as well as regional and local political leaders demanding more autonomy and hence the taxation powers that go along with their expenditure responsibilities. The basic foundations for the initial theory of Fiscal Federalism were laid by Kenneth Arrow, Richard Musgrave and Paul Samuelson’s two important papers (1954, 1955) on the theory of public goods. In laying the foundation for the theory, Musgrave (1959), a German-born American economist, provided the framework for what became accepted as the proper role of the state in the economy. Within this framework, he provided three main roles for the government sector in the economy. These were the correction of the various forms of market failure, ensuring an equitable distribution of income and seeking to maintain stability in the macro-economy at full employment and stable prices. Thus the government was expected to step in where the market mechanism failed due to various types of public goods characteristics. Government is seen as the custodian of public interest seeking to maximize social welfare based on either their benevolence or the need to ensure electoral success in democracies (Ozo-Eson, 2005).
Since the government has different tiers, each tier is seen as seeking to maximize the social welfare of the citizens within its jurisdiction. This multi-layered quest becomes very important where public goods exist, the consumption of which is not national in character, but localized. In such circumstances, local outputs targeted at local demands by respective local jurisdictions clearly provide higher social welfare than the central provision. This principle, which Oates (1999) has formalized into the ‘Decentralization Theorem’ constitutes the basic foundation for what may be referred to as the first generation theory of fiscal decentralization (Bird, 2009). The theory focused on situations where different levels of government provided efficient levels of output of public goods ‘for those goods whose special patterns of benefits were encompassed by the geographical scope of their jurisdictions’ (Oates, 1999). Such situations came to be known as ‘perfect mapping’ or ‘fiscal equivalence’ (Olson, 1996). Nevertheless, it was also recognized that, given the multiplicity of local public goods with varying geographical patterns of consumption, there was hardly any level of government that could produce a perfect mapping for all public goods. Thus, it was recognized that there would be local public goods with inter-jurisdictional spill-overs. For example, a road may confer public goods characteristics, the benefits of which are enjoyed beyond the local jurisdiction. The local authority may then under-provide for such a good. To avoid this, the theory then resorts to situation whereby the central government is required to provide matching grants to the lower level government so that it can internalize the full benefits.
Based on the principles above, the role of government in maximizing social welfare through public goods provision came to be assigned to the lower tiers of government as this is considered more efficient. The other two roles of income distribution and stabilization were, however, regarded as suitable for the central government. Based on the principles above we can summarize the role assignment which flows from the basic theory of fiscal federalism as; central government is expected to ensure equitable distribution of income, maintain macroeconomic stability and provide public goods that are national in character. Decentralized levels of government on the other hand are expected to concentrate on the provision of local public goods with the central government providing targeted grants in cases where there are jurisdictional spill-overs associated with local public goods (Arowolo, 2011).
However, once the assignment of roles had been carried out, the next step in the theory was to determine the appropriate taxing framework to be adopted by the lower tier government in order to raise enough revenue to carry out its role of maximizing welfare. Over reliance on the central government to provide targeted grants at the expense of raising internal revenue to perform the welfare maximizing role would hence provide a greater disincentive for these decentralized levels of government (McKinnon, 1997). These principles of the theory were however not without criticisms. A number of authors such as Smoke (1994); Bahl ; Linn (1992); and Prudíhomme (1995), were of the view that the issues surrounding assignment of responsibility for both the expenditure and revenue dimensions of the allocation function in developing countries are considerably more complex. First, a number of explicit and implicit assumptions underlying public finance theory in general and fiscal federalism in particular, may be violated in some developing countries. Among the potential concerns are: the relevance of individual preferences as the principal basis for defining demand; the potential role of mobility in generating an efficient spatial pattern service provision; the applicability of conventional models of public choice; and the existence of an adequate legal basis for an effective inter-governmental system. To the extent that such mechanisms and assumptions are not valid, some of the standard policy prescriptions of the theory may have to be discarded or adapted.
Second, even if basic principles are essentially valid, local conditions that are fairly common in developing countries can substantially affect the way they should be interpreted. Wide spread poverty, for example, may make preferences more homogeneous across local jurisdictions, justifying greater centralization of some functions. This could be offset, however, by substantial spatial diversity in local environments and economic bases, and/or by the existence of widely dispersed and poorly linked settlements, both of which might suggest the need for greater decentralization. Despite these criticisms, the Fiscal Federalism Theory still provides the basic principles upon which to allocate functions to the various tiers of government within any system of government. However, the main interest of this theory as appropriate for this study is the fact that fiscal federalism is manifest by the financial aspects of the devolvement of authority from the national to the regional and local levels. Fiscal federalism covers two interconnected areas. The first is the division of competence in decision making about public expenditures and public revenue between the different levels of government (national, regional and local). The second is the degree of freedom of decision making enjoyed by regional and local authorities in the assessment of local
taxes and the systems or strategies adopted to collect them as well as in the determination of their expenditures (Kesner-Skreb, 2009).
Furthermore, Oates (1972) suggested four basic guidelines as a starting point for defining or evaluating a revenue system or strategy. First, local taxes should be as neutral as possible in terms of their effect on economic behaviour. Second, the benefits and costs of local taxes should be clear to those for whom services are to be provided. Third, the pattern of incidence of local taxes should meet basic equity standards. Fourth, the administration and compliance costs should be minimized by avoiding the assignment of complex taxes to local governments. These differences in perspective and their potential effects must be recognized when designing local revenue systems (Smoke, 2001).
In view of this, a fundamental requirement when redesigning local revenue systems is greater emphasis on the identification of the revenue sources, cost-effectiveness of revenue collection, taking into account not only the direct costs of revenue administration, but also the overall costs to the economy including the compliance costs to taxpayers. In addition, losses through corruption and evasion need to be reduced. Clearly, improved revenue administration cannot compensate for bad revenue design. Thus, reforming the revenue structure should precede the reform of revenue administration since there is not much merit in making a bad revenue system work somewhat better. There is the need therefore to consider and examine these elements of revenue generation strategies in order to determine its effectiveness in generating enough revenue to fulfill the assigned function as propounded in this theory.
According to Ostrom (2005) the use of a framework in research allows the researcher to identify the relevant elements that the researcher needs to consider in analytical and prescriptive purposes. It is in view of the above elements which served as the key prerequisites for the generation of internal funds by subnational governments that the conceptual framework as depicted and discussed in the figure below has been developed for this study.
Figure 3 : Conceptual framework for revenue generation for infrastructural development
Source: Developed from the fiscal federalism theory.
2.3 Operationalization of Elements in the Conceptual Framework
Source : Developed from the fiscal federalism theory.
As indicated in the framework above (figure 3), central government has devolved some fiscal responsibilities to local governments in order to mobilize, allocate and manage financial resources according to locally determined priorities. These functions according to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana article 245 (a), (b) among other things prescribed the functions of the Municipal Assemblies to involve the execution of plans, programmes and strategies for the effective mobilization of the resources necessary for the overall development of the Assembly. Local governments have also been mandated to levy and collect taxes, rates, duties and fees suitable for the local conditions. In furtherance of this constitutional mandate of fiscal decentralization, the LG Act of 1993, Act 462 (sections 86-126) further provided additional legal framework on budgeting, levying and collection of taxes, rates and fees. The legal devolution of this fiscal responsibility as propounded by the fiscal federalism theory is what leads to the determination and the mandate by the MMDAs to budget and also adopt the effective and efficient revenue generation strategies suitable for local conditions towards internally generated revenue necessary for infrastructure development. Efficient revenue mobilization towards infrastructural development as a core mandate of local governments involves setting into motion an effective budgetary processes. These processes include the engagement of stakeholders such as Assembly and Unit Committee members, Chiefs and Opinion Leaders and the tax payers themselves. Setting of budget priorities for which the revenues are needed in consultation with the relevant stakeholders as well as guidelines given by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is another very important step to be examined in relation to the budgetary process toward revenue generation. An assessment of the revenue base of the Assembly is also another very important factor to consider at this stage coupled with the development of the various indicators that will guide the Assembly in the generation of the revenue. It is also at this stage that the budgeted revenue is linked to the budgeted expenditure of the Assembly for the ensuing year hence serving as the bases for the revenue generation after the approval of the Assembly. It is these budget processes that determines the revenue generation strategies including the employment and training of those involved in the actual revenue collection, enforcement of regulations on revenue collection, internal controls to ensure revenue generation is safeguarded to be used for its intended purposes. The overall effect of carrying out these two key processes is the generation of adequate internally generated fund for infrastructure development. However, to ensure that these processes work effectively, there is the need to evaluate and provide feedback in relation to the budget and revenue generation strategies in order to deal with any challenges resulting from the implementation of these strategies. The above elements or factors from the budget process through to revenue generation strategies as depicted in the Figure 3 above provided were the core elements examined in relation to revenue generation.
2.2.2 Historical Evolution of Local Governance
Decentralization is a mechanism for bringing government closer to the governed and helps to improve public administration by empowering local authorities to be the planning and decision-making bodies and thereby enhancing the capacity of government to achieve local participation (Badu, 2007).
The use of local authorities to help govern this country started with the colonial authorities that used the traditional rulers (known as chiefs) to help rule the Gold Coast, Ghana’s name under the colonial rule. The pre-independence period, therefore, saw the so-called native authorities in a system referred to as the indirect rule, as the hub of local government (Ayee, 2000). Various legislations setting up local authorities were enacted. In 1859, municipalities were set up in the coastal towns under the Municipal Ordinance but a Municipal Councils Ordinance was passed in 1953. This was followed by enactment of the Local Government Act, 1961 (Act 54). Under all these legislations, the local bodies were set up and vested with authority specifically for local matters but operated alongside central government agencies that also existed at the local level. Their main responsibility was to provide municipal services and amenities in their localities. However, to address the weaknesses in the local administrative system and its ineffectiveness, the Local Administration Act, 1971 (Act 359) was passed. This could not be implemented until 1974 after an amendment, the Local Administration (Amendment) Decree 1974, NRCD 258, was made to it. Sixty-five District Councils were set up under this Decree with appointed Councillors. However, this new system was also beset with numerous problems and it never worked well (Baffour, 2008).
The present decentralization system is the most serious attempt so far in Ghana’s history. It was introduced in 1988, when the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) initiated some reforms in local government. The Local Government Law, 1988 (PNDCL 207) was enacted to give legal backing to the new local government system. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana made decentralization mandatory and provided that Ghana put in place a system of local government and administration which shall, as far as practicable, be decentralized (Section 240 (1) of the 1992 Constitution). The Constitution tasked Parliament with enacting appropriate laws to ensure that functions, powers, responsibilities and resources are at all times transferred from central to local government authorities in a coordinated manner. Thus, in 1993, Parliament enacted a new law, the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 642) to replace PNDCL 207, though basically the same in character.
The Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) retained the 110 Metropolitan (3), Municipal (4) and District (103) Assemblies that had been set up by PNDCL 207. A Metropolitan, Municipal or District Assembly is the pivot of administrative and developmental decision-making at the local level that is assigned with deliberative, legislative and executive functions. The Assembly is responsible for bringing about integration of political, administrative and development support to achieve a more equitable allocation of power, wealth and geographically dispersed development in the country. The Assembly is also the planning authority in the district. The Assembly is given the authority to prepare and implement development plans and to draw up budgets for implementing the development plans. They are expected to mobilize resources, develop local infrastructure and to promote the development of local productive activities with the help of some central government institutions, also decentralized, to operate as part of the District Assemblies. In sum, it is the responsibility of these local authorities to ensure development, peace and security in their various jurisdictions in a participatory manner at every level of governance.
The Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) provides for the transfer of 86 statutory functions of state to local government bodies with jurisdiction over geographical areas. This Act also provides for the establishment of sub-district and unit committees and the resources to create access to political authority for the majority of Ghanaians. The District Assembly’s substructures include the Sub-metropolitan, urban/town/zonal/area councils and unit committees. The 1992 Constitution also provides for the establishment of Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) in the ten administrative regions as part of the arrangements for the decentralized system in Ghana. In principle, the RCC is a purely administrative and coordinating body rather than a political or policy-making body but the Regional Minister obviously wields a lot of power in the region.
The Government of Ghana has emphasized its commitment to pursue a vigorous and progressive deepening of decentralization and devolution of power. The decentralization policy provides an opportunity to involve more people and more institutions in the formulation and delivery of development policy for poverty reduction and growth. It is expected to maximize the use of human resources, optimize equity and provide a basis for accountability and transparency. It is worth noting that a Presidential Oversight Committee on Decentralization was to be set up in 2002 to ensure that functions, powers, responsibilities and resources are at all times transferred from Central Government to local government units in a coordinated manner. Due to the prominent role of the DAs in bringing about development to the rural folks several communities are clamouring for new districts, a situation that could be exploited for political gains (Badu, 2007).
However, the District Assemblies face considerable problems including limited capacity and lack of appropriate skills on financial management and budgeting as well as the implementation of programmes and projects in their jurisdictions. This situation is exacerbated by inadequate supervision and weak oversight functions. Furthermore, the local revenue base of most district assemblies is very weak and most of them look up to the Central Government for funding for both service delivery and the provision of infrastructure (Azeem et al, 2003).
2.2.3 Duties of the MMDAs
The Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462) provides the institutional and legal framework for local authorities, under Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are responsible for overall development and activities within their jurisdictions such as public infrastructure;- schools, markets, transport etc. Their responsibilities include preparation and approval of layouts, planning, development permits and management. The local assemblies are also responsible for providing a clean and healthy environment for the citizens. However, due to shortage of financial and technical means the MMDAs often fail to fulfil their responsibilities (Yeboah and Johansson, 2010). Consequently, they are mandated by law to mobilize revenue or generate some funds to augment funds from central government (Kessey, 1995).
2.2.4 The Concept of Revenue Mobilization and Sources of Revenue for MMDAs
With regards to the MMDAs, revenue mobilization involves the increase in assets of governmental funds that do not increase liability or recovery of expenditure. This revenue is obtained from taxes, licences, fees, permits etc. The local government revenue also refers to funds collected and received by the MMDAs. The Accounting Manual for MMDAs (2011) defines revenue as the earnings of the Assembly within an accounting period. Revenue is recognised when cash or service associated with the transaction flow to the Assembly. For cash transactions, the revenue is recognised on receipt of payments. For other transactions, revenue is recognised when it is earned by law (i.e. non-tax revenues) or by contract (goods or services are supplied by the Assembly).
2.2.5 Types of Local Government Revenue
The Local Government Act 1993 (Act 462) provides the operational framework for local Assemblies to exercise their political, financial and administrative powers. This Act provides Assemblies with authorization to mobilize and manage revenues to fund their operations among other things. There are three main revenue sources to the MMDAs. These are 1) Locally or internally generated revenue (IGF), 2) Central government transfers 3) Donor support.
2.2.6 Internally Generated Funds (IGFs)
Internally generated funds are the revenues collected by the MMDAs and consist of basic, special and property rates, fees and fines, licenses, lands, rent, trading services, specialized funds, such as stool land royalties, timber royalties and mineral development funds, grants and investment income (Arkoh, 1994). From an intergovernmental fiscal decentralisation perspective, the more revenue MMDAs can generate, the more autonomy they will have (Adu, 2009). Although there have been improvements in IGF collections over the years, there is a general consensus that MMDAs have not fully utilized the potential of their revenue base and hence their high dependency upon central government transfers (Kessey, 1992). Internationally, tax and fee revenue is considered relatively stable from year to year. However, data on MMDAs revenue generation for a 5 year period shows there is a wide variation in collections. Collections for specific MMDAs tend to fluctuate significantly, both up and down, from year to year. Currently, IGFs are the only funds over which the MMDAs have total control. Because the DACF and most development partner funds and projects are targeted toward development and cannot be used for recurrent expenditures, the ability for the MMDAs to maintain new and existing infrastructure as well as on-going programs will become more and more difficult since the IGF is not enough to cater for these programs (Asibuo, 1996). Some of the components of MMDAs revenue are:
Property rates constitute a substantial part of the total revenue for local assemblies, but the collection of property rates is often not efficient. This is a common problem not only for Ghana, but for many developing countries (Yeboah and Johanson, 2010). The basis for the rate is the resident adult population and immovable properties. The property rate is levied on immovable properties and includes residential, commercial and industrial properties. Temporary structures also attract rates. Property rates contribute to more than 65% of internally generated sources of revenue to most MMDAs (Korkor and Kroes, 2000). However, in 2008 about 35 percent of the property rate budget was actually collected by most MMDAs. This reduces their capacity to develop and to provide services to its citizens and puts constraints on central government funds. It therefore reduces Government’s ability to channel funds to meet urgent needs in the rural areas and neglected sectors.
Licenses are based on economic activities in the district. The licence serves as the permit for undertaking any such activity in the community. Business operating permits, development permits etc. are a form of licences given to people to allow them to carry out some activities in the community. It provides revenue to support local authorities in the performance of their functions (Yeboah and Johansson, 2010). Whilst some of such licences are paid on annual or quarterly basis a greater number of them are paid on monthly basis and thus increasing the cost of collection (Nkrumah, 2000). Report of a study in Malawi concerning revenue mobilization showed that local business license registers contain only information on those few smaller businesses being issued licenses by the assemblies. Information on any larger businesses is contained in the business register at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. This is denying the local assemblies huge sums of money (Kelly et al., 2001).
Fees, fines and grants, Rents
Fees are charges or tolls paid by the users of the services provided by the Assembly. These services include the provision of markets, lorry parks etc. by the MMDAs mostly from the DACF. Therefore, users of these facilities pay for the usage of these facilities. Rents are also collected from hiring of market stalls/stores, Assembly quarters etc. Fines include court fines on people who violate the Assembly’s bye laws.
2.2.7 Central Government Transfers
Central government transfers are made up of the grants (ceded revenue) such as the District Assemblies’ Common Fund and the District Development Facility. In addition to the traditional sources of revenue is the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), embodied in the 1992 constitution of Ghana and implemented for the first time in 1994. It is the single largest source of income for the Assembly and contributes about 75% of the annual revenue of the Assembly. Other funds released to MMDAs from Central Government are wages and salaries of the local government staff at the Assembly. The fact however is that much of the funding received via central government transfers, including DACF, is earmarked in one way or the other for some projects and, as a result, MMDAs have little flexibility over how the funding is spent. The monies received for salary payments, which is the majority of the funds received by MDAs, is for staff in decentralized departments who report directly to sector ministries (Cobbinah, 2009).
The need for Central Government to financially support local government has been highlighted in the 1992 constitution. The constitution recognized the need to strengthen the financial base of the MMDAs. The constitution therefore provided for the establishment of the District Assemblies Common Fund (popularly called the Common Fund) under section 252. Section 252 of the constitution made it mandatory for Parliament to set aside not less than 5% of the national revenue by Act 455 to be shared among MMDAs solely for development and ensuring effective discharge of statutory functions. Currently, the fund is 7.5% of the national revenue (ILGS, 2010). About 50% of the total Common Fund is earmarked by the central government for specific MMDA purposes. As this implies, the MMDA’s have flexibility over 50% of the amounts allocated to support their local investment needs. Under the devolved form of fiscal decentralisation, MMDAs should have the ability to plan and budget for their own local needs (Oquaye, 2001).
There is also the District Development Facility which is a new funding source for MMDAs. Pooled funding from both development partners and Government of Ghana is used to fund the new DDF. The DDF includes performance based criteria to serve as an incentive to enhance financial management practices at the Assembly, yet, designed in such a way that no MMDAs is punished for actions beyond their control. The MMDAs who meet the criteria receives additional resources. Assessment is conducted based on the Functional and Organisational Assessment Tool. The DDF also provides a more systematic approach to capacity building as capacity building is targeted at those MMDAs that are not performing adequately based on the Functional and Organizational Assessment Tool (FOAT) assessment. But the DDF is targeted toward development and capacity building and does not impact recurrent expenditures (Ofei-Aboagye, 2000).
2.2.8 Donor Support
Most MMDAs benefit from donor grants from development partners such as DANIDA, GTZ etc. to carry out certain projects in the assembly. For instance, Danida provided water and sanitation facilities to some communities in the Greater Accra region through the Metropolitan Authority. The Sekyere East District and others have also received support from MiDA, World Vision International and other donor organisation which are present in the jurisdiction.
2.3 Empirical Literature Review
A sound revenue base makes successful any sound fiscal decentralization programme ( Bird, 2010 ; Martinez-Vázques and Smoke, 2010 ; Olowu and Wunsch, 2003). Local governments perform several functions. Key among these functions is to mobilize local revenues which have the potential to foster political and administrative accountability by empowering communities (Shah, 1998 ; Oates, 1998). Over the past two decades ,the growth of Africa’s population has outpaced the capacity of local governments to deliver services in terms of management and the financing of infrastructure (McCluskey et al., 2003; McCluskey and Franzen, 2005 ). This implies that these Local government bodies are unable to generate enough revenues coupled with the dwindling Central Government support to meet these ever growing needs of the population.
Several reasons have been attributed by scholars to the inability of these local government bodies to generate enough revenues . Devas (2003), argued that a growing number of residents in these local areas live in informal settlements characterized by inadequate basic services such as housing, clean water, electricity, sanitation, roads and transport hence the difficulty to generate revenue from these areas. Others have also attributed this phenomenon to the fact that many local government authorities are financially weak due to poor tax administration systems that are unable to properly account for revenues collected and therefore had to rely on financial transfers and assistance from the central government (Brosio, 2000; Fjeldstad, 2006).
Others have recently attributed the lack of transparency in the budgetary processes of local governments due to their inability to engage citizen’s interest in terms of their involvement in the entire process of planning and revenue generation as well as being provided with facilities that are of high quality ( Adenugba & Ogechi, 2013; Akudugu, 2012). Again, some other scholars are also of the view that the existence of central government grants was a major disincentive to mobilize local government revenue (Benin, 2012). Even though a number of studies have drawn the attention to the dangers of decentralized levels of government relying too heavily on intergovernmental transfers for financing their budgets (Weingast, 1995; McKinon, 1997), the phenomenon has not changed over the years. The implications of all these findings is the fact that there continues to be an abysmal performance of local governments in revenue mobilization resulting in governance crisis and poor service delivery capability.
Darison (2011) conducted a study on enhancing local government revenue mobilization through the use of information communication technology using the Accra Metropolitan Assembly as a case study. The study attempts to create the nature and extent of tax coverage in the Accra metropolis and to assess the challenges of local government revenue generation in the metropolis. Other objectives included the impact of increased revenue generation on the development of the metropolis and the potentials of ICT system in improving local government revenue generation. The method used for the study is the case study approach and the data required was on revenue performance and structure of the Accra metropolis, revenue mobilization challenges and the use of ICT in the administration of revenue in the Accra metropolis. The outcome of the study revealed the nature and extent of tax coverage in the Accra metropolis. Among the sources of taxation or revenue identified include rates, land, fees and fines, investments, miscellaneous among others. Also, the study showed that the use of ICT IS quite low in revenue generation. It also came to light that the Assembly has not really been innovative over the years when it comes to designing effective strategies for revenue mobilization.
Azeko (2012) also conducted a study on effective revenue mobilization by District Assemblies for local development using the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly as a case study. The purpose of the study is to examine the ways towards effective and adequate mobilization of IGF by the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly. The sample for the study was 122 tax payers and 33 revenue collectors. The findings from the study revealed that the Municipality’s IGF is weak as it could only finance 12% of its total expenditure for the period 2007 to 2011. It has also experienced a decline in growth from the year 2007 to 2011 respectively. The major sources of revenue of the IGF component to the assembly came from rates as it has contributed on average 44% of total IGF of the assembly. The assembly has not been able to mobilize the IGF adequately due to political interference in the collection of the IGF as sometimes the political head of the municipality sometimes intervene in the assembly efforts to mobilize revenue. Other factors accounting for the low performance of the IGF of the assembly are low calibres of revenue collectors recruited as about 80% of them could not meet the basic qualification of revenue collectors. Some of the collectors were also dishonest and there was high level of corruption perception in the revenue collection efforts as well as the fact that the collectors complained of low remuneration, which affects their moral.
Another study conducted by Gyireh (2011) focused on improving revenue mobilization by District Assemblies using the Sekyere East District Assembly (SEDA) as a case study. This study used primary data made up of 65 respondents. The results showed that the main sources of internal revenue identified are property rates, licenses, market tolls, and lorry park fees, rent etc. to help finance projects in the jurisdiction. The study also found that property rate made the highest contribution to the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of SEDA between 2000-2009 and that basic rate as a source of revenue has made an insignificant contribution to the IGF of SEDA. The study also found that some of the problems inhibiting optimal revenue mobilization are – inadequate data on revenue sources, lack of enforcement of revenue mobilization bye laws, inadequate revenue collectors and their training, outmoded mode of tax collections.
Fosu (2012) also conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness of revenue mobilization strategies of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana, using the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly as a case study. The objective of the study was to come out with strategies that can help KMA to generate enough Internal Generated Funds (IGFs) to meet its developmental needs. Areas considered under the challenges that KMA face included; insufficient IGFs, over reliance on District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), corruption, inability to provide public needs, etc. The findings from the survey indicated that KMA is not sufficiently using fiscal decentralization to empower itself under Local Government Act, Act 462 (1993) for that matter it has not developed new and sustainable strategies to improve its performance in revenue mobilization. The Assembly like many local authorities in Ghana had tendered to over-rely on the District Assembly Common Fund to meet its capital expenditure. The study also found that greater part of KMA’s IGFs goes into administration expenditure. KMA definitely is unable to meet its socio – economic and political obligations to consumers of public goods and services in the metropolis. It will continue to fail to satisfy its consumers so far as it does not develop new strategies and policies to improve its revenue mobilization. The study further indicated that KMA also lacks reliable data base on traders that affect its budget formulation and implementation.
Owusu (2012) also undertook a study on revenue mobilization and its impact on the development of District Assemblies using the Kpando Municipal Assembly as a case study. The study set out to discover other revenue sources that are not being explored by the Assembly, the strategies that are adopted for revenue collection and accounting standards. A sample size of 100 respondents were selected for the study made up of Core Management staff of the District Planning Committee, Permanent Revenue collectors, Commission collectors, Staff of Urban Town and Area Councils and Assembly members. The results indicated that the Assembly is not being innovative enough to explore other revenue sources that are available to the Assembly. It also revealed that though the IGF of the Assembly is contributing to the development of the Municipality, it is not enough to significantly fund projects. Consequently, Government funding is extremely important to the Assembly.
Finally, Akudugu and Oppong-Peprah (2013) conducted a study on Local Government Revenue Mobilisation and Management using the Asante Akim South District Assembly as a case study. The study examines the challenges confronting the Asante Akim South District Assembly in its revenue mobilisation and management drive. The data were collected through in-depth interviews, group discussion and review of relevant financial documents of the Assembly, particularly the Trial Balance Sheets. The study found that the Asante Akim South District Assembly clearly performs poorly in internal revenue mobilisation and the internally generated fund is the least contributor to district revenue. The study also found that a wide difference exists between budgeted revenue or expenditure and the actual revenue or expenditure, especially in 2002. In addition, the data showed that a large amount of the internally generated fund is spent on recurrent expenditure (personnel emoluments, travel and transport, and miscellaneous). Finally, the study indicated that any increase in revenue has a corresponding increase in expenditure. These findings do not present a good picture as far as the financial condition of the Asante Akim South District Assembly is concerned. As such, there is the need for the Assembly to initiate measures aimed at improving revenue mobilization and management.
APPLICATION OF THEORIES TO REAL LIFE SITUATION
3.0 Research Methodology
Prior to explaining the nature of the Problem in the Study Organisation , this chapter outlines the methodology adopted by the Project Team towards answering the research questions in order to realize the research objectives.By way of introduction , it outlines the design of the study , targeted population , the sample size used , data sources and the instruments used to collect them, and management of the data .
3.0.1 Design of the Study
This study adopted the qualitative research design for the assessment of the revenue generation processes and strategies of the KWMA . This approach, as postulated by Babbie & Mourton (2006), allowed the Project Team to give observations of the data gathered from the questionnaires and interviews. This was justified as appropriate for this study on the basis
that it enabled the Project Team to explore further the challenges confronting the strategies and the processes to achieve the desired outcomes in order to determine the various ways of dealing with those challenges. It further provided an approach whereby interaction with respondents and their experiences within the context of the study, enabled the Project Team to generate valid information using multiple sources of evidence to generate data that is rich and deeper (Miller & Brewer, 2003; Baxter & Jack, 2008).
Based on the above, the Project Team gathered primary data by conducting interviews from the perspectives of district officials and the administration of open ended questionnaires to Assembly and Unit Committee Members and Revenue Collectors. This approach allowed the Project Team to elicit relevant information from multiple data sources for the study from these three levels by gaining an in-depth and qualitative insight into the various strategies and processes adopted by the Assembly from the budget stage through the revenue collection stage. It also aimed at achieving subjective reality brought about by the multiple perspectives from a range of respondents who provided the information within the context of the study. The use of interviews also enabled the Project Team to achieve reality by drawing closer and getting immersed with the phenomenon under study in order to understand the environment and its participants (Stake, 1995).
Finally, the choice of these three groups was important based on the fact that it allowed for counter arguments and opinions through diverse expression of thoughts from the multiple sources of data in order to achieve the reality that existed in the phenomenon under study (Tellis, 1997).
3.0.2 Data Sources
The study relied on both primary and secondary sources of data for information. Primary data were obtained from key officers of the KWMA and Assembly and Unit Committee Members and Revenue Collectors. The secondary sources of data for the study included examination of related official documents and published articles, legislative instruments, internet sources and academic journals. The analysis of the contents of these two data sources complemented each other in drawing valid conclusions on the findings of the study.
3.0.3 Target Population and Sample Size
The target population for this study included all the staff of the KWMA, the Assembly Members and Unit Committee Members and the Revenue Collectors. The Project Team however, purposively sampled the Municipal Budget Officer, Municipal Finance Officer, Municipal Internal Auditor, Municipal Coordinating Director, Municipal Planning Officer and the Municipal Revenue Superintendent. In addition, five members each of Assembly, Unit Committee and Revenue Collectors were conveniently sampled for the study due ease of access to the information relevant for the study.
The sample size of the population was twenty one (21). The sample size selection was informed by the key players involved based on their knowledge in the budgeting and revenue generation in the Municipal Assembly. The choice of the officers at the Municipal Administration was informed by the fact that they were directly involved in the processes that led to the setting of the budget processes as well as the management of the revenue generation processes. On the other hand, the Assembly and Unit Committee Members were chosen in order to determine their roles in the budgetary as well as revenue generation processes since they represented the various electoral areas from which the revenues were generated. In addition, they were in the position to identify the various revenue sources for the Assembly by providing information upon which the Assembly could base its revenue projections within the budget. The revenue collectors were also directly involved in the collection of what was due the Assembly and were therefore able to provide information necessary for both the budgetary and revenue generation processes.
3.0.4 Sampling Technique
Purposive and Convenient sampling technique was adopted for this research. This approach allowed the researcher to use judgment in selecting the respondents with specific purpose in mind. It was also appropriate when the Project Team wanted to identify particular types of cases for in-depth investigation with a less aim of generalizing than gaining a deeper understanding of the phenomenon (Neuman, 2007). It was also useful due to the fact that it was practically impossible to collect data from or examine every element within a sample. Purposive sampling was used because the principal persons involved in the budgetary and revenue mobilization processes of the Municipal were already known and could be identified. Purposive sampling therefore enabled the researcher to identify the principal respondents with the requisite knowledge on the budgetary and revenue generation processes. Hence the Budget Officer, Finance Officer, Revenue Superintendent, Planning Officer, Internal Auditor, Coordinating Director as well as Revenue Collectors and Assembly and Unit Committee Members were purposively sampled for this study. However, it is also important to note that convenient sampling was used to select the five Assembly, Unit Committee and Revenue Collectors each. This was based on the ease of access and the readiness to volunteer the information needed for the study.
3.0.5 Instrumentation and Data Collection Procedure
The study used two main techniques to collect data. These were in-depth interviews (Appendix A) with the principal officers involved in the budgetary and revenue generation at the Municipal Administration and the use of open ended questionnaires for the Assembly Members and Unit Committee Members as well as Revenue Collectors. The questionnaires (Appendix B) were mainly open ended in order to solicit personal responses from the respondents. The use of the
multiple data collection instrument was important based on the fact that lapses identified in one instrument was catered for in the other through the comparison of responses in order to ensure triangulation and accuracy (Yin, 2009). The conduct of interviews which took place in the offices of the respondents enabled the researcher to solicit from the various respondents their multiple views and experiences in relation to the topic under study since the researcher personally interacted with the respondents and probed by asking follow up questions to seek clarifications. Secondly, it enabled the researcher to cross examine the responses given by each of the respondents in order to avoid biases and ensure data accuracy. Thirdly, respondents were able to provide responses to the questions based on their peculiar experiences in relation to the issues involved in revenue generation within their areas of jurisdiction. The principal officers at the District Administration were mainly questioned on issues that were involved in the budgetary processes towards revenue generation, the challenges that were encountered in these processes, as well as the measures put in place to address them. The Assembly, Unit Committee and revenue collectors were asked questions on their role in these processes in terms of the identification of revenue sources, setting of revenue targets as well as the enforcement and the collection of these revenues. These questionnaires were administered and received on the same day. In instances where respondents sought clarifications on questions, the Project Team was present to read and provide the clarifications needed.
3.0.6 Data Management and Analysis
The data gathered from the field were collected using the digital audio recorder for the interviews conducted and the questionnaires were retrieved in hard copy format. The audio-recorded field
data were then transcribed and categorized into themes to enable analysis and interpretation to be carried out. In line with best practice the thematic categorization of the data were done to reflect the research objectives. In order to provide considerations for data access and long term data stability and security, the audio data generated from the field were stored on an external hard drive while answered extra copies of the questionnaires were made and backed up.
With regards to data analysis, the study employed qualitative content analysis to generate meaning from the raw data generated from the field. Qualitative content analysis according Patton (2002), is aimed at interpreting the volume of a text data by identifying the important themes and patterns through the researcher’s careful examination and constant comparison. This technique was chosen as an analytical tool due to its ability to make reasonable inferences in interpreting the data. The qualitative content analysis technique was adopted and applied through these three approaches; data description, data analysis and data interpretation. The first step was to develop thorough descriptions of the phenomenon under study. The description provided the ‘context of action, the intentions of the actor, and the process in which action is embedded. However, the ultimate goal of analysis was not just to describe the data but to interpret, explain and understand the meanings attached to the phenomenon. The adoption of these three techniques in the analysis and the constant comparison with the literature helped to achieve the objectives of the study. It ensured that the various analysis was categorized into the four main objectives of the study for the analysis.
3.1. Explanation of the Nature of Problem in study Organisation
As indicated in the framework adopted for the study (figure 3.0), District Assemblies as lower tier governments are mandated to develop various strategies necessary for the generation of the required revenue for development. In order for the District Assemblies to ensure that there is constant revenue flow for the implementation of its programmes and policies, it must ensure that efficient and effective strategies are put in place to identify and collect the revenues due them. In other words, the main goal of having an integrated revenue management is to ensure that there is sufficient, easy to administer, stable and predictable income sources to finance quality public services in an accountable manner.
The Project Team identified problems and challenges related to the generation of revenue at KWMA in line with the objectives of the projects right from the budget processes that determine the revenue sources and targets through to the collection of the revenue and its usage for any development projects.The findings revealed that the Assembly’s revenue generation system is fraught with several challenges.The challenges range from the inclusion and education of stakeholders in the budget process , identification of revenue sources , manual methods in billing and collection , re-valuation of properties , training of revenue collectors. Sensitization of citizens , enforcement of revenue collection unreliable database and lack of motivation for revenue collectors . Some of these challenges are discussed into detail below.
3.1.1 The Budget Process and the Inclusion of Stakeholders
Stakeholder inclusion in the budget process and its effect on the performance of local government abound in literature (Schneider ; Baquero, 2006). There is therefore advocacy for the inclusion of all stakeholders to enable effective implementation of the Assembly’s programmes. The composite budget process which is currently used by the District Assemblies in Ghana requires the inclusion of stakeholders from the planning to the evaluation stages. The planning stage of the cycle is considered very relevant because it is the stage that determines how much money is available to spend, establish the priorities for the year and also plan ceilings for each department based on the priorities. This requires that the various revenue sources are identified and the priorities set for the year. It is therefore important to involve all stakeholders such as District Planning Coordinating Unit, Development Planning subcommittee and other relevant subcommittees such as the Budget Committee, Unit Committee Members, town and area councils, rate collectors and payers among others. The study was therefore interested in the adherence to these processes and the strategies adopted in relation to these.
Evidence gathered from the data indicated that some of these stakeholders did not understand the entire budget process nor included in the budget process even though the Municipal Budget Officer emphasized that the Assembly engaged in a comprehensive planning process involving all stakeholders using the availing participatory planning tools.
However, data gathered from Assembly and Unit Committee Members and Revenue Collectors indicated otherwise. Assembly members indicated that they did not fully understood the processes that were involved in developing the Assembly’s budget especially those in relation to revenue generation. This was largely due to the technicalities associated with the budget processes. Responses in relation to involvement in the budget preparation however, indicated that depending on the committee that an Assembly member belonged to, he or she was not likely to be directly involved in the budget preparation process. For instance while some of the Assembly Members indicated that they were part of the Executive Committee which scrutinized the draft budget before it was presented to the general assembly, others indicated that the entire budget was only presented during general assembly meetings for them to approve without playing any other role. However, majority of the Assembly Members also revealed that they had an input in the kind of expenditure items included in the budget which included health and school facilities needed in their electoral areas.
All the unit committee members on the other hand responded that they had no understanding of the processes used by the Assembly to prepare its budget and that they were not involved in any way nor contacted by any Assembly Official for their views. That is to say their Assembly Members did not contact them to seek their views on issues relating to their units to be presented to the Assembly and for subsequent inclusion into the Assembly’s budget.
The revenue collectors who go to the field and interact with the rate or fee payers also responded that they had no understanding of the processes that were used to prepare the Assembly’s budget. They further asserted that they were not involved in the budget preparation processes nor given any opportunity to offer their views on issues relating revenue collection even though they were directly involved in revenue collection. The Principal Revenue Superintendent (PRS) who is responsible for supervising the revenue collectors however, indicated that she was involved in fixing the rates that were to be charged for the year and included in the budget. The non-involvement of the revenue collectors according to the information gathered from the field revealed that since revenue collectors were headed by the Principal Revenue Superintendent her views were considered as the views of all the revenue collectors in the budget preparation process.
The implication of this phenomenon which is contrary to relevant literature reviewed for the study has a long run effect on the revenue generated. The effect on the entire implementation of the Assembly’s policies and programmes cannot be overemphasized since the stakeholders involved in the implementation viewed the policies and programmes as an imposition from a higher authority rather than policies and programmes that they own and therefore wanted it to succeed by actively offering their views and participating in its implementation. The importance of stakeholder participation cannot be downplayed in the identification of revenue sources for the Assembly.
3.1.2 Unavailability of Reliable Data for Revenue Collection.
Revenue collection as well as charging realistic rates depends on the availability of reliable data. It is important that Assemblies develop baseline indicators that shows the revenue potentials of the District. This database include the number of businesses operating within the Assemblies jurisdictions as well as the number of valuable properties among others. Data gathered revealed that, reliable database on which to base the Assembly’s revenue charging, collection and projections were not readily available. According to the MBO even though the Assembly had been able to make some efforts at gathering some data which was used for its fee fixing resolution and revenue projections, it was inadequate based on the fact that it did not cover the entire Municipality.
3.1.3 Manual method of revenue collection strategy
Data gathered from the field revealed that the Assembly had divided the Municipal into four main revenue zones with each Zone covering a number of suburbs in the municipality as detailed in Table 5 below :
Zone 1 Zone 3
1.Accra Town 1. Adoagyiri
2. Atta-Ne-Atta 2. Domeabra
4. Zongo 4. Central
5. Akuajoo 5. Asuboni
Zone 2 Zone 4
1. Asuogya 1.New Town
2. Mission/Nyamebekyere 2. Brotherhood
3. Achease 3.Kwasimireku
4. Soldier Line 4. Dubai
5. Amanfrom 5.Kweku Dwira
6. Timber Market
These revenue zones were manned by revenue collectors. These revenue collectors were categorized into two(2) as explained by the Revenue Superintendent .They further explained that the established revenue collectors were the ones employed through the Local Government Service, placed on the Government of Ghana payroll and are paid monthly by the Controller and the Accountant General’s Department (CAGD). The second group of revenue collectors referred to as the commissioned collectors were the ones who are given a percentage of what they collected as revenue. Others too were outsourced to private collectors. For instance the permits for telecommunication masts are not collected by the Assembly but by private companies who take their commission before Assembly’s share was given.
The Assembly adopted the issuance of tickets as the only means of collection at the various revenue points such as lorry parks, markets, and entry and exit points into the Municipal.All the revenue collectors were expected to collect the revenue and pay it to the cashier at the Finance Department in Nkawkaw, the municipal capital . The entire revenue team of the Assembly was led by the Principal Revenue Superintendent. It was again revealed that commission revenue collectors were required to pay every amount of money to the Assembly without taking their commission but rather wait on the Assembly to later calculate these commission before being paid. With regards to the above information as gathered from officials at the KWMA Office, both Assembly and Unit Committee members responded that they were aware that the Assembly had developed a ticket system and employed revenue collectors who went round to issue out tickets to market women, container shops in addition to issuing building permits.The Revenue collectors also mentioned that tickets were usually issued to rate payers and money collected.
The above system of collection according to the sentiments expressed was not the most efficient and effective way of collecting revenue at the moment.The Assembly believes the system was fraught with some challenges including leakages of revenue hence the inability to realize the set revenue targets for each year.This phenomenon implied that the Assembly’s efforts at improving its revenue generation towards the development of the District may not be realized if the current system of revenue collection persisted. The overdependence on the issuance of tickets as the major means of collecting revenue by the Assembly has been clearly identified as a challenge that may hinder the real amount of revenue to be generated since it has its inherent challenge of being compromised by the revenue collectors. It is therefore prudent to apply other varied strategies toward the collection of revenue.
3.1.4 Training of Revenue Collectors, Assembly and Unit Committee Members
It is also imperative to ensure that District Assemblies and for that matter Local Government staff receive the necessary training to ensure that they perform better on their jobs. In view of this the research sought to assess the level and kind of training that were given to the Assembly Staff including the revenue collectors, Assembly and Unit Committee members on issues relating especially to revenue generation. With this the research gathered data which revealed that the Assembly had given some form of training to the revenue collectors. The views expressed as to the specific training given to the revenue collectors were however, varied. The MFO indicated that the revenue collectors they employed were given what he referred to as “on the job training”. The Municipal Internal Auditor also averred that in order for the revenue collectors to perform their jobs better they were given some form of training before being deployed to their revenue points. The MPO also revealed that even though they gave some form of basic training to the revenue collectors before they were deployed to perform their task, they realized that the current performance of the various revenue collectors leaves much to be desired hence the need to put in place measures to train them properly in order for them to perform their tasks as required of them. These measures, he indicated were yet to be implemented .The need for training the revenue collectors was further stressed upon by the Principal Revenue Superintendent (PRS). She indicated that the inability to realize the revenue targets over the years could be largely attributed to the inadequacy of training the revenue collectors received. She bemoaned the lack of training even for them at the higher level.There was no frequent training for the collectors who intimated that they needed training in order to broaden their skills on revenue collection.
Both Assembly and Unit Committee Members also indicated that they had not received any form of training in relation to revenue generation even though they would have wished for some form of training on how the entire system of revenue generation was done and the role they had to play in order to assist the revenue collectors and the entire Assembly. Others also revealed that they were not given any orientation when they were elected to the Assembly and therefore did not even understand the entire workings of the Assembly and were unable to contribute meaningfully during debates of the Assembly. The above sentiments were common in the responses gathered when it was realized that it was even important that the revenue collectors were equipped with the necessary skills and given a certain appearance before going to their point of work. The belief was that even the way and manner the revenue collectors appear in terms of the uniform they put on and how they communicate with their clients has a positive effect on the amount of revenue they generate for the Assembly. Respondents believed the training programmes when properly developed and implemented could go a long way to affect the performance of the Assembly in revenue generation. The absence of quality training and the effect this has on revenue staff and their performance cannot be overemphasized. It is therefore important that training is considered an integral part of the revenue generation strategy by the Kwahu West Municipal Assembly.
3.1.5 Inability to Charge and Collect Property Rates
The collection of property rates has been identified as one of the major sources of funding for the District Assemblies. The properties were expected to be valued and the appropriate charges applied per annum. Property owners were therefore required to pay these charges to the Assembly as required of them. However , as at the time of this research the MBO informed the project team that the Assembly had not undertaken any property valuation in order to charge and collect any property rate . This affects the amount of revenue the Assembly generates. The MFO explained that it was costly to value the properties considering the charges of the Land Valuation Board to assess all the buildings in the municipality.Thus , the municipal had maintained unassessed rates for a period of time.
3.1.6 Inadequate Sensitization of the People on the Payment of Revenue
The sensitization of the citizens towards the payment of revenue and the general contribution that they were required to make was a major challenge for the revenue mobilization. Ahwoi (2010), opined that, very often the fanfare and high expectations that characterizes the creation of new Districts was often short lived due to the inability of the citizens’ expectations to be met. The effect of the above challenge was that, the attitude of the people towards the payment of revenue became a major challenge for the Assembly since most of the people did not see the need to pay to the Assembly.The sentiment expressed by the MFO was that the main challenge to revenue generation is the attitude of the people to pay because the money is not mostly spent on them directly especially the IGF so they do not see the need to pay except when some force is exerted. In addition , according to the Principal Revenue Superintendent , several citizens resisted and often threatened to even beat up revenue officers when they went on duty. She further lamented the frequent reports that she received from revenue collectors from the field about the threat from rate payers and how often people even ran away to hide anytime they saw the revenue collectors approaching. This was indeed affecting the amount of revenue the Assembly was able to generate
3.1.7 Political Interference
Furthermore, there is also the issue of political interference in the collection of revenue from the political heads of the assembly. These political heads sometimes intervene on behalf of their cronies who are not willing to pay revenue to the assembly. This act by political heads of municipal assemblies denies the assembly of the needed revenue for development projects
3.1.8 Prosecution of Defaulters
Another factor responsible for low revenue mobilization at KWMA is lack of prosecution of defaulters on tax revenue. This situation does not only pertain to KWMA but cuts across the whole nation. Because tax revenue defaulters are not prosecuted swiftly, others are also tempted to default thereby robbing the assembly of revenue and increasing the cost of mobilizing revenue.
3.1.9 Lack of Motivation for Revenue Collectors
One challenge which demoralizes the Revenue Collectors at KWMA is the delay in the payment of commission to collectors coupled with the absence of a reward system to motivate performing Revenue Collectors.
3.2 Solution Provided for the Problem
The Project Team went on to provide solutions to deal with some of the challenges identified in the revenue generating system. Some of these measures according to the Assembly were already being implemented whiles some were proposals that the Assembly planned to implement in order to deal with the challenges identified.These as discussed below include Public Education on Revenue Mobilization ; Improvement in Database for Rrevenue Collection ;Automation of Billing and Collection System ; Training of Revenue Collectors,Assembly , and Unit Committee Members ; Valuation of Properties and Enhancement of Street Naming and Addressing System ; Sensitization of citizens ;Dealing with Political Interference ; Prosecution of Defaulters , and motivation of Revenue Collectors.
3.2.1 Public Education on Revenue Mobilization
In line with the objectives of the project , the project team members solved the problem of non -inclusion of stakeholders in the Budget Process by proposing continuous education of the tax paying public, the Assembly and Unit Committee Members , and Revenue Collectors right from the Budget Preparation stage .The team advised that these stakeholders are involved , through public hearing and information vans , in identifying revenue sources and their views are sought in fixing the rates , fees , etc. to be charged for the year and included in the Assembly’s budget.When these stakeholders are involved they will own the policies and programmes and make it succeed by actively offering their views and participating in its implementation .
3.2.2 Improvement in Database for Revenue Collection.
The project team proposed that the Assembly begun the process of updating its database in order to have a true and fair view of eligible rate/fee payers and for better revenue projection.
With the automation of the billing system by a consulting firm , Jilsoft Technologies , in Koforidua, the Assembly had so far captured about three thousand businesses into its database. The MPO indicated that with the operationalization of the four (4) non-functional Zonal Councils , more data on landed properties , and businesses will be registered .The belief is that there would be a true and reliable revenue database with which the Assembly would be able to project its revenues in the ensuing years.
3.2.3 Automation of Billing and Collection System
To have a reliable database and be able to check the current leakages which is identified as a challenge that may hinder the real amount of revenue to be generated, the project team proposed that management adopts the use a modern electronic method of collecting its revenue from the eligible payers .Management accepted to rollout out modern billing and collection methods to replace manual methods and reduce human interventions which predisposes officers to corruption.The Assembly readily begun the installation of an automated billing and collection system from Jilsoft Technologies, Koforidua and Persol Systems Limited ,Kaneshie Industrial Area Accra respectively.
3.2.4 Training of Revenue Collectors , Assembly and Unit Committee Members
According to Azeko( 2012) , about 80% of revenue collectors in MMDAs in Ghana do not meet the basic qualification of revenue collectors. This apparent lack of requisite qualification of revenue collectors would invariably have a negative effect on revenue mobilization at KWMA .To overcome the challenge of hiring poor caliber of revenue collectors , the project team proposed training for existing staff of revenue collectors to upgrade their skills and streamline the recruitment criteria to reflect the requisite skills required for revenue collectors.The training extends to the Assembly and Unit Committee Members who are intergral part of the revenue mobilization process.
3.2.5 Valuation of Properties and Enhancement of Street Naming and Addressing
One of the strategies for revenue generation is for an Assembly to value its properties for the collection of property rates.The strategic location of the Municipal capital town coupled with a high population makes Nkawkaw one of the fastest growing and vibrant commercial towns in the country.It has a potential of promoting strong economic linkages with a number of Districts to promote economic growth through trade and investment.From a careful analysis of the Municipal profile, the project team proposed that the Assembly invites the Land Valuation Board to assess all the buildings to pave the way for the Assembly to charge the necessary rates that applies to each property in order to enhance its revenue .We advised the Assembly to fund the current street naming and addressing system to compliment its efforts in revenue generation.When the current process is finally properly deployed , the Assembly will be able to identify and map each area within the Municipality to be able to charge realistic rates for that area.The street naming strategy however feasible must be deployed in such a way that citizens are well informed of the system in such a way that becomes useful to the Assembly.
3.2.6 Sensitization of Citizens
In an effort to improve its revenue generation , the project team proposed that the Assembly engages in sensitization of the citizenry on why they should pay their revenue promptly to the Assembly. We convinced them that once the people understood the need to pay their rates and fees, it would be easier to collect the revenues due it. The main strategies include the use of information vans, radio talk shows and frequent public forum in the communities.
3.2.7 Dealing with Political Interference
The project team proposed a solution of removal from office for any political head who interferes negatively in the revenue mobilization efforts of KWMA.
3.2.8 Prosecution of Defaulters
The project team proposed the establishment of a special magistrate court in KWMA area to swiftly prosecute and jail defaulters. Alternatively, defaulters could also have their wares or goods confiscated and sold to defray tax revenue
3.2.9 Motivation of Revenue Collectors
The project team also proposed a system of rewards for revenue collectors who consistently meet their targets in order to motivate them. Moreover , it was proposed and measures were put in place to ensure that there was proper and timely release of the commission of the revenue collectors in order to motivate them to perform their duties.
3.3 Contribution of Students to Organization
During the project execution period, the project team made the following contributions to KWMA as far as revenue mobilization strategies and challenges are concerned.
The project team contributed to KWMA by proposing training for all staff of KWMA, the Assembly ,Zonal Council and Unit Committee Members to ensure that they are well trained in alternative revenue mobilization strategies in order to increase revenue.
In addition, the project team also contributed to KWMA by proposing periodic education of the general public about the importance of paying tax revenue to the local assembly through the use of mobile vans.
In addition ,the project team contributed to KWMA by proposing the establishment of a special magistrate court in KWMA area to swiftly prosecute and jail defaulters to serve as a deterrent to would be defaulters.
Furthermore, the project team contributed to KWMA by proposing removal from office for any political head who interferes negatively in the revenue mobilization efforts of KWMA by exempting his/her cronies from paying revenue to the assembly.
Moreover , the project team contributed to KWMA by ensuring that training is organized for existing staff of revenue collectors to upgrade their skills and helped streamlined the recruitment criteria to reflect the requisite skills required for revenue collectors.
The project team also contributed to KWMA by proposing the implementation of effective checks and balances to prevent dishonesty on the part of revenue collectors, and the development of comprehensive and up-to-date revenue sources database. In addition, the project team also contributed by ensuring that a system of rewards is established for revenue collectors who consistently meet their targets in order to motivate them. Finally the project team contributed to KWMA by discussing with management the possibility of introducing modern revenue billing and collection methods to replace manual methods which the team witnessed being installed by Jilsoft Technologies and Persol Systems Limited respectively.
LESSONS LEARNT AND CHALLENGES
4.1 Lessons Learnt
During the course of the project work at KWMA, the project team learnt many lessons. The following are some of the lessons learnt.
The project team learnt during the execution of the project that the most common type of revenue available to KWMA is rates, ground rent, fees and fines, and investments. Some studies recorded that this type of revenue constitutes about 44% of the total revenue that is available to some assemblies (Azeko, 2012).
The project team also learnt during the project execution that the use of ICT is quite low in the revenue mobilization efforts of KWMA. As a result of this KWMA is unable to adopt modern technologies in revenue collection to minimize human involvement.
In addition, the project team also learnt through the empirical literature review that on the whole, most MMDAs in Ghana have not been innovative in designing effective strategies for revenue mobilization in their respective assemblies.
In addition, the project team also learnt through the review of empirical literature that some political heads of local assemblies interfere negatively in the mobilization of revenue by intervening on behalf of their cronies to avoid paying tax revenue though this was not a major case at KWMA.
The project team also learnt that one major cause of low revenue mobilization at KWMA was the engagement of low calibre of revenue collectors who do not meet the basic requirements or qualification required for a revenue collector.
Furthermore, the project team also learnt that revenue collector dishonesty and high official misappropriation of assembly funds were some of the challenges that bedeviled effective revenue collection not only at KWMA but also at other assemblies.
In addition, the project team learnt that low morale of revenue collectors through low motivation has negatively affected the revenue collection effort of KWMA since collectors are not willing to put in extra effort to meet or exceed their targets.
Finally, the project team has learnt through interaction with staff at KWMA Assembly and Unit Committee Members that the four(4) Zonal Councils are currently non- functional and do not compliment the efforts of the Assembly in generating revenue. there is also inadequate data on revenue sources, lack of enforcement of revenue mobilization bye laws which negatively affects the revenue collection effort.
During the project execution, the project team encountered the following challenges as far as the pursuits of the objectives are concerned.
The research team had challenges in trying to interact with the staff at KWMA since most of them did not trust that the information the project team was seeking was solely for academic purposes. This made it difficult to interact with them to get the required information for the project.
In addition, the staff at KWMA were not too willing to give information on existing revenue mobilization strategies at Assembly since most of them thought the project team was from a government agency seeking to punish them for non-performance.
In addition, KWMA had no documented standard operating procedures regarding revenue collection for revenue collectors and this made it difficult for the project team to have a source document to verify the existing revenue mobilization strategies available at the assembly.
The project team also encountered initial challenges of getting KWMA to volunteer to participate in the study. The assembly claimed they were busy and would not have time for the project team to interact with them.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The purpose of the project was to improve revenue generation for infrastructural development projects of District Assemblies in Ghana using Kwahu West Municipal Assembly as a case study. The specific objectives of the study are to identify the existing revenue mobilization strategies at Kwahu West Municipal Assembly, ascertain factors responsible for low revenue mobilization at Kwahu West Municipal Assembly, find out the challenges faced by Kwahu West Municipal Assembly in its revenue mobilization efforts, and recommend strategies for improving revenue mobilization within the Municipal Assembly for infrastructural development projects. The study employed the participant observation mode of gathering information for the project making use of indepth- interviews. The project found that KWMA had not designed any revenue mobilization strategy tailored to its peculiar needs for revenue mobilization but rather had in place the traditional manual method of revenue collection strategy from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development .
The project also found that there is a lack of continuous and sustained public education on the importance of paying taxes. The lack of continuous education of the tax paying public makes it difficult for ordinary citizens within the KWMA jurisdiction to see the importance of paying tax revenue to the local assembly.
Moreover, the project found that there is a lack of prosecution of defaulters on tax revenue. This situation does not only pertain to KWMA but cuts across the whole nation and this negatively affects tax revenue.
the study found that another factor responsible for low mobilization of revenue at KWMA is the hiring of poor calibre of revenue collectors. The apparent lack of requisite qualification of revenue collectors would invariably have a negative effect on revenue mobilization at KWMA. Finally the project team found out that the cost involved to value the properties in the municipal in order to charge realistic property rates was high and deterred management from embarking on the exercise.Funding for the street naming and property addressing system was also not forthcoming to speed up the process which came to a standstill since it was piloted in the municipal.The non functioning of the four Zonal Councils , Fodoa ,Apradan,Nkawkaw ,Kwahu Nsaba/Asuboni Rails , also posed a challenge for the Assembly in updating its database on revenue sources and with the collection of ceded revenue in their jurisdiction.These also affect revenue generation in KWMA.
On the basis of observations made during the project, the following were some of the conclusions drawn from the project in line with the objectives of the project.
The project team concluded that KWMA had not designed any revenue mobilization strategy tailored to its peculiar needs for revenue mobilization. This observation confirms the findings of Owusu (2012) which indicated that most MMDAs are not being innovative enough to explore alternative revenue sources and strategies that are available to the Assembly.
The project team also concluded that there is a lack of continuous education of the tax paying public at the KWMA area. This lack of continuous education of the tax paying public makes it difficult for ordinary citizens within the KWMA jurisdiction to see the importance of paying tax revenue to the local assembly.
The project team further concluded that there is a lack of prosecution of defaulters on tax revenue. This situation does not only pertain to KWMA but cuts across the whole nation and others are also tempted to default thereby robbing the assembly of revenue and increasing the cost of mobilizing revenue.
In addition, the project team concluded that there is hiring of poor calibre of revenue collectors at KWMA which invariably has negative effects on revenue mobilization at KWMA.
Finally, the project concluded that there is the existence of negative practices which affect revenue mobilization at KWMA. Some of these negative practices include dishonesty among revenue collectors, lack of motivation of revenue collectors, mismanagement of funds by high officials, inadequate data on revenue sources, and outmoded tax collection methods.
In view of the conclusions drawn above, it is imperative for KWMA to do the following:
• The project team recommended that KWMA should offer training for all existing revenue collectors in alternative revenue mobilization strategies in order to increase revenue.
• The project team also recommended that KWMA should organize periodic education of the general public about the importance of paying tax revenue to the local assembly through the use of mobile vans to inculcate in the general populace a sense of civic responsibility.
• The project also recommended that KWMA should ensure that all tax revenue defaulters are swiftly prosecuted and jailed to serve as a deterrent to others who may be contemplating of defaulting in their tax obligation.
• Furthermore, the project recommended that the assembly removes from office any political head who interferes negatively in the revenue mobilization efforts of KWMA by exempting his/her cronies from tax revenue payment.
• The project team also recommended to KWMA to streamline the recruitment criteria of revenue collectors to reflect the requisite skills required for revenue collectors.
• Finally, the project team recommended the development and implementation of effective checks and balances to prevent dishonesty on the part of revenue collectors, and the development of comprehensive and up-to-date revenue sources database. In addition, the project recommended a system of rewards for revenue collectors who consistently meet their targets in order to motivate them.
• The last but not the least recommendation is for management to value all the landed properties in the municipal , using the Land Valuation Board , and implement the government’s policy on street naming and property addressing system to compliment the government’s holistic efforts in revenue generation for infrastructural development projects in Assemblies. This could be KWMA contribution to the government’s policy of ” Ghana Beyond Aid .”
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