Enhancing revenue generation for local level development through community participation - a study of Keta District

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Decentralization of Local Government administration which saw a major push in the mid 80’s to the district level after several attempts by previous governments in Ghana, is meant to encourage participatory democracy and further the development efforts of the country. Thus the district assemblies under the legal provisions establishing them are allocated various tax sources to tap internally for their development. This was within the wider context of financial empowerment to the assemblies to enable them take their destinies in their own hands. Considering the fact that the district assemblies are responsible for the overall development of their districts, and whatever amount they will get from the District Assemblies Common Fund will be dependent on their own internally generated resources, it behoves every district to take a critical look at its revenue generation efforts and performance. Unfortunately, however most districts are confronted with poor revenue generation, which affect their ability to perform their assigned functions, especially undertaking development projects to improve the living conditions of their people. The poor revenue performance has been attributed to poor community participation and response to revenue generation policies. Keta District Assembly is no exception to this poor revenue performance of the districts. Using the district as a case study, revenue policy formulation procedures were examined to see the level of community participation revenue collection procedures and performance so as to design strategies to improve community participation in revenue generation. In this regard, the study concerned itself with analyzing the available financial data of the district to evaluate the performance of revenue from endogenous sources, revenue performance in nominal and real terms, and contribution of existing revenue of major revenue heads to revenue in the district. The analysis was supplemented with interviews from rate-payers, revenue staff, assembly members and key officials of the assembly, for their views on revenue policy formulation and the level of community participation and response to revenue policies and what should be done to enhance community participation for improved revenue generation. From the study it was clear that though decentralized system of local government was meant to facilitate participation of local people in the decision making process, revenue policy formulation is the sole prerogative of the district assembly, with no involvement or consultation with the larger community. That revenue generation performance over the years, though increasing in nominal terms, has been decreasing in real terms. That, basic rate is poorly patronized by the majority of residents indicating the low level of public participation and response, it collection. That this poor revenue performance can be attributed to the absence of public participation in revenue policy formulation, collection and monitoring issues. Not to talk about the absence of any effective tax education programme, leading to lack of awareness on the part of community members. That there are potentials opportunities available in the district to facilitate community participation in revenue generation for local development. On the basis of the findings, recommendations were proposed to form the basis for enhancing community participation in revenue generation for local development, and enable the district to be in a position to attract more external assistance and support especially from the District Assemblies Common Fund.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1996