The savannah Regional Coordinating Council (SRCC) on Friday, 18th March 2022 held an orientation meeting on dLRev roll out on for Municipal and District Assemblies (M/DAs) in the region. The meeting was essentially to orient Municipal and District Assemblies, especially the non-partner districts of the Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID) Programme, on a national drive to set up all districts on the revenue management software, the District Local Revenue (dLRev).
The orientation meeting was attended by the various stakeholders, including staff of the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council (SRCC) and officers from 7 District Assemblies consisting the District Chief Executives, District Coordinating Directors, Physical Planning Officers, Works Engineers, District Budget Analysts and Chairpersons of the Finance and Administration Sub-Committees.
Popularly known as ‘dLRev’, it is a revenue management software developed by GIZ to aid District Assemblies to maximize local revenue. The software is a comprehensive suite of interconnected applications/ systems. The software is currently set-up for property rates and business operating permits, but also provides for other revenue items. The dLRev is a web-based application with a digital address map (local plan) of a district, produced using a geographic information system. The local plan has a spatial database and with a corresponding fiscal cadastre of revenue items, the software is used to manage data, billing, and collection.
In a speech read on behalf of the Coordinator for the Northern Zone of the GIZ Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID) Programme, Mr John Adraki, he stated that the Government of Ghana in its 2022 Budget Statement seeks to get all MMDAs rolled onto the dLRev this year; and as such, the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD) has taken steps to providing direction to all Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to be able to use the dLRev.
The statement also cited a cost-benefit analysis conducted in January 2020, by renowned experts of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre as part of the Government of Ghana’s ‘Ghana Priorities Project’, which has shown that every Ghana cedi invested in the implementation of the dLRev leverages 8.8 Ghana Cedis in return. The statement explained that dLRev has demonstrated a significant contribution to the successful implementation of Ghana’s fiscal decentralisation framework. The software represents a breakthrough in Ghana’s strive towards a more digitised public administration.
The statement also mentioned that three out the seven districts in the region – Bole and Central Gonja Districts and the East Gonja Municipality – are perfectly set up on the system, while strides are made to set up West Gonja Municipal Assembly and the other GovID non-partner districts. The Regional Mobile Team was said to be instrumental in the roll out to the previously left out districts – North Gonja, North East Gonja and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba Districts.
The benefits of using dLRev were stated as including creating a database or fiscal cadastre for revenue collection, increase in revenues to be used for development, helping in blocking revenue leakages, reduction in the time and cost of data collection, and automating mechanisms such as issuing demand notices. Other benefits are the production of scientific revenue forecasts and analyses to keep track of revenue, as well as easy record keeping and report generation from the dLRev system.
In his opening remarks the Regional Coordinating Director (RCD), Mr Yaw Adu Asamoah, emphasised the significance attached to the roll out of the dLRev by the Government of Ghana. He underscored that the need for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to generate local revenue has reached a crescendo; and reiterated the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ vision to encourage the MMDAs to work to expand the tax base to increase revenue to finance development. He for an instance, cited the effect of global phenomena such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on Ghana’s economy.
The RCD stressed on the necessity to complete Street Naming and Property Addressing (SNPA) processes which some MMDAs began for almost a decade now. Mr Yaw Adu Asamoah acknowledged that the setting up of MMDAs on the revenue management software would require up-to-date local plans and address maps to build fiscal cadastre. He acknowledged the vast work yet to be done in relation to the timelines set by the MLGDRD for nationwide roll out.
Mr Yaw Adu Asamoah also called on the MMDAs to take the roll out seriously, pointing out that there would be stern sanctions from the MLGDRD to defaulting MMDAs. He also called on the Municipal and District Chief Executives (M/DCEs) and Chairmen of the Finance and Administration Sub-Committees to see the roll out as a special assignment; and therefore, support and motivate the technocrats to do their work, while demanding accountability of the processes from the technocrats. He stated that the onus rests on MMDAs to prove that they can collect the rates efficiently, otherwise they stand a risk of ‘takeover’ by other agencies in the collection of property rates, especially.
He corroborated the evidence of high return on investment in dLRev at a remarkable ratio of 1:8. He thanked GIZ Ghana GovID Programme for the numerous supports, particularly, for equipping all regional offices of Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) with drones to facilitate capturing of aerial photos.
The Savannah Regional Office of LUSPA presented the roll out plan and the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the roll out process. Deliverables in the roll out processes were mentioned as including the completion of key SNPA activities (such as generating street names, acquiring orthophotos through drone deployments, preparing and digitising address maps, conducting ground truthing, etc.) valuation of properties, working on fee fixing resolution, and so on. The MMDAs were entreated to follow the guidelines on SNPA to avoid needless difficulties.
LUSPA also conducted an assessment of SNPA and capacity of the Physical Planning Departments (PPDs) of MMDAs in the region. With a seemingly weak capacity of staff of the Physical Planning Departments of the MMDAs, LUSPA announced their plan to provide relevant skills and capacity building training modules for the staff.
In his closing remarks, the RCD, Mr Yaw Adu Asamoah directed that the MMDAs should immediately start work in order to be able to meet the May-June 2022 deadline on the roll out, set by the MLGDRD. He signalled that all MMDAs would be required to show evidence of work accomplished, and also cautioned that no MMDA should hold the process back. The RCD encouraged the prioritisation of the big and commercial towns as a starting point for roll out.
The orientation meeting ended with exhaustive discussions pertaining to the roll out process and with all the MMDAs well positioned to hit the ground running.