“The process include contract amendment and scope privitisation by the contract CONTi, correspondence
with EXIM Bank, call for priority letter, review of amended contracts…”
So, all these things have not been done for the past four years and we are saying that we have brought GH¢633 million into this country to take care of sewage and sanitation projects? Indeed Mr Speaker, this sums up how we are treating the local government sector.
We can go on. Even the little things -- Mr Speaker, the little simple things that you would expect the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to do, they are not able to do them.
Take a simple thing like bir th registration. Since this Government came in 2009, there has been stagnation. Between 2005 and 2008, it moved from 30 per cent to 70 per cent. The registration of children is a right. It moved from 30 per cent to 70 per cent. Since 2009, it has stagnated.
Indeed, it has come to 60 per cent. In some districts, it is 25 per cent. If we are not able to do simple things like these, how do we say we are running local government in this country?
It is interesting enough Mr Speaker, to see in the 2016 Budget Statement that the Births and Deaths Registry is ready to look at the backlog of birth registration since 1912. I cannot understand that this simple thing, they are now telling us that they are looking at the backlog since 1912.
Meanwhile, all the international reports are saying that Ghana is stagnant. This is a copy of the report -- [Raises the report] -- Every Hon Member of this House has a copy. The devil is in the detail. Simple things like these, we cannot do, Mr Speaker, how much more major things as far as local governance is concerned. That is how we are ranked lowest in everything under local governance.
It is a shame and an embarrassment to this country, that we pump in so much money from sectors, donor communities, donor communities, DACF et cetera, but simple things --
Our children are dying because of simple things like sanitation, health, cholera, malaria and other diseases. Ghana is second only to Nigeria. Mr Speaker, you can imagine that if the Hon Deputy stands here to say that there is so much going on in the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry, I do not know which Ministry he is running. This is because, the devil is in the detail as I said.
All the reports including this year's Budget Statement show that when it comes to local governance, there is stagnation and retrogression. We have failed; we have not been able to do it. If we cannot do it, the best thing, Mr Speaker, is to move away for others to come and do it.
Indeed, Mr Speaker, we are told that there is a draft Local Government Finance Bill, which was completed in 2008. It has still not been reviewed and laid before Parliament. This is a Bill which seeks to provide a comprehensive law to guide Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to raise private capital, enter into partnership for joint ventures and then mobilise other financial resources.
Since 2009, we are told that this draft Bill is being reviewed and studied. As we speak, the draft Bill is not in this House; it is not before Parliament. What is the Ministry waiting for? Are we really serious about running local government in this country?
Now, they are telling us in the 2016 Budget Statement that there is a draft Local Government Lending Agency Bill, which is ready for consultation. I am sure, Mr Speaker, with all due respect, that this Bill will also suffer the same fate as a Local Government and Rural Development Finance Bill.
All in all, Mr Speaker, I am saying that when it comes to things that should be run in the Ministry, we are still retrogressing and stagnating.
Let us take this transfer into the DACF. In accordance with Act 455, the allocations made by Parliament and paid quarterly as instalments into the DACF.
According to the Auditor-General, the Assemblies have been denied access to funds for their developmental activities due to the delays by the Ministry of Finance. For instance, by 2014, a total of GH¢1 billion had accrued to the Fund. Since 2014, the amount of GH¢1.5 billion payable has not been fully paid. There is an amount of GH¢735 million still unpaid.
The payment schedule for the arrears has not been fulfilled to enable the Assemblies have access to needed funds.