By Tabora Bojang
The permanent secretary at the ministry of regional government, Buba Sanyang has disclosed that the government has approved a scheme to provide area councils and municipalities across the country a subvention of D16 million meant to execute their developmental works.
The government is required to annually subvent local councils and municipalities to support their developmental goals, however several council heads who appeared before lawmakers last year decried the lack of subvention from government amid a dwindle in the collection of rates and taxes which are the main sources of revenue for the councils.
However, addressing the National Assembly select committee yesterday, PS Buba Sanyang said the subvention scheme is expected to provide much-needed relief to the struggling local councils, by enabling them to beef up development initiatives to better serve the needs of their communities.
“We [Ministry of Lands] are estimating that each council gets D2 million out of the total D16 million but it has to be agreed by the finance and ad-hoc committee comprising officials of the GRA, Ministry of Finance and two representatives from the councils. They would sit and review the proposal and probate it accordingly,” PS Sanyang explained.
The PS also dismissed suggestions that the increase in government subvention was as a result of perennial constraints decried by the councils faulting the government for taking over most of councils’ revenue-generating means, including car park fees.
“There was a misunderstanding. Car park fees were never taken away from the councils, it is the mode of payment that has changed but the fund goes back to them and nothing is reduced. It is now charged on the pump prices of fuel and collected by the GRA which is sent to the ministries of lands and finance to process the payment,” Sanyang added.