Editorial: Property rate collection: Is Asokwa Assembly not being mischievous?

Following the discovery that the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) lacked the capacity to collect property rates, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Land Valuation Board decided to form what The Chronicle will describe as a tripartite committee to study how best to address the situation.

After a lengthy discussion and research, it was decided that the GRA should fund the Land Valuation Board to value properties in these MMDAs to boost revenue mobilisation. Under the agreement, 70% of all revenues collected will go to the assemblies, with the GRA, Lands Valuation Board and the Ministry of Finance retaining the remaining 30%.

This agreement was negotiated on behalf of the assemblies by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development after the latter realised that some of the assemblies were struggling to raise revenue from property rates.

Under the agreement, the assemblies are not supposed to invest even a pesewa into the acquisition of the software that would be used to collect the property rate, but have the right to retain 70% of the revenues.

Indeed, the GRA has even gone ahead to establish a common platform, known as “myassembly.gov.gh” for the collection of the property tax rates. All the assemblies have access to this platform and every pesewa that is paid by property owners is known to the assemblies.

After the Ministry of Local Government had met and briefed heads of  the assemblies about the new method in revenue mobilisation, the latter had also gone back to inform their respective assembly members.

In a nutshell, every assembly member is supposed to know this new revenue collection method. The Chronicle, therefore, finds it rather strange an agitation by the Asokwa Municipal Assembly members in the Kumasi Metropolis that their source of revenue had been taken away from them.

According to a story we have published at our business page today, the members of the Asokwa Municipal Assembly have expressed worry over the takeover of the collection of property rates by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) at the expense of the Assembly.

Mr. Elliot Fosu Bannor, the Assembly’s Presiding Member, at a press conference explained that the situation had crippled the work of the Assembly as it is not getting its rightful share as expected.

He said the Asokwa Assembly was unable to perform its duties as expected and lamented that should their concerns remain unaddressed, they would be compelled to collect the property rates.

The Assembly members have, therefore, resolved that from October 2023, they would institute a taskforce to collect property rates, because the law still allows them to collect the taxes themselves, to prosecute its developmental agenda.

The above statement clearly shows that either the Assembly members were not aware of the new collection method, or they are simply trying to be mischievous. The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the Municipal Chief Executive for Asokwa, who is obviously aware of the new method that has been introduced, to rein in his or her people.

It appears to us that the collection of the revenue by a centralised body is going to deny some people the illegal money they have been pocketing and hence doing everything possible to torpedo it.

Indeed, we must admit, this is not the first time a section of the assemblies is kicking against the property rate collection. In May this year,  the Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) in a statement said the Property Rate Tax was a ceded revenue for District Assemblies as enshrined in Section 124 (3) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) and could not be collected by any other institution other than the District Assemblies.

However, in a counter statement signed by the Head of Communication for the myassembly.gov.gh project of the GRA, the authority said the cited piece of legislation spoke to revenue of district assemblies, but made no reference to the district assemblies collecting revenues on their own.

It added that the article in question also said nothing about the MMDAs not allowing other state agencies assist them in the collection of internally generated funds, which included property rate.

But despite this unambiguous explanation offered by the GRA, the agitation is still going on. The Chronicle advises the Ministry of Local government and indeed, all parties to the agreement not to succumb to pressure from a few others to truncate the laudable initiative.

Ayawaso West Wuogon municipality in Accra, is arguably the richest in Ghana, yet they were not able to collect highest percentage of their property rates. Why should this be so?



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