Supreme Court rules against gov’t’s capping of assemblies common fund

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The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision ruled that government’s re-alignment of the amount to be handed district assemblies is unconstitutional.

The apex court has held that total revenue must be calculated to include Petroleum Revenue allotted as Annual Budget Support amount and non-tax revenue paid to Central Government.

Ghana’s constitution (article 252(1)) requires parliament to make annual provision of not less than 5% of total revenue to assemblies for development.

The Minority MPs in 2017 accused government of allocating an amount less than 5% (1.5 billion) of total revenue.

Government maintained the minority misunderstood the formula used for computing the 5% allocation. Two Minority MPs, Benjamin Kpodo and Richard Quarshiga dragged the government to the apex court seeking answers.

The seven-member panel presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has clarified that the law limiting the proportion of revenue due for allocation is in contravention of the constitution and hereby declared null and void.

“To the extent that Sections 1(2), 2(b),3(1)(b),3(5)(a),7(a), and 8 of the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act,2017(Act 947) and Section 126 of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 916) purport to limit the proportion of revenue due for allocation to the District Assemblies Common Fund as established by Article 252(2) of the Constitution, the same are in the contravention of the Constitution and are hereby declared to be null and void,” the court held.

Article 252 clause 2 enjoins Parliament to “make an allocation of not less than 5% of the revenues of Ghana to the District Assemblies for development, and the amount shall be paid into the District Assemblies Common Fund in quarterly instalments”.

In June this year, the Chief Justice delivered the unanimous decision of the court.

Other members on the panel were Justices Jones Doste, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Sule Gbadegbe, Gabriel Pwamang and Agnes Dodzie.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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