Ledzokuku Assembly fails to meet 2023 revenue target

Muniratu Akweley Issah

Accra, Jan. 17, GNA – The Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly was unable to achieve its revenue target for the year 2023, Mr Mordecai Quarshie, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) told the Ghana News Agency.

Mr. Quarshie said based on “historical performance” over the years, the 2023 objective of reaching far more than the target was unsuccessful.

He said though there had been significant improvement in the previous years, the Assembly was unable to go beyond its expectation, adding that: “If you compare our performance in the previous years, then we have achieved our target, but if you compared to what the potential is, then we did not do very much.”

“We fell woefully short of the potential, and it is the potential that we want. If we had collected more, we could have done a lot for the Assembly.”

He said in 2021, the Assembly was able to collect property rates of about 600, and in 2022, it achieved 1.8 million and collected 2.2 million in the year 2023.

The MCE said out of 43 million bills sent out to the municipality for property rates, only 2.2 million was generated, a situation he described as unfortunate.

Mr Quarshie said the unfortunate situation was due to difficulties in accessing the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) universal common platform for payment.

He said: “In 2023 we had the GRA universal common platform which was a new system for collecting property rates and so we were expecting that the system would enable us to increase our revenue by an order of magnitude, but we were unable to do that.”

“What happens is that the bills are sent digitally to the rate payer, who must go online to access the bill and make payment electronically. This was a very new thing, but being electronic from start to finish was a bit too much for people to handle.”

He explained that people could not log on to the GRA site to make payment, which caused variations, saying “rate payers complained, and a lot of the people did not pay their property rates as expected”.

“Another point is that valuations were made, structures were revalued at current prices, but the Assembly’s valuations were low, using that of 2018 valuations. So, the bills that came up were higher than expected.”

According to the MCE, ratepayers also complained that the bills were too high so, some of them were waiting for an adjustment and once it did not happen, they ended up not paying at all.

“There was also lack of coordination with the local Assemblies and, therefore, even areas where we could have used local action to support, they were asking for information we didn’t have.”

Mr Quarshie noted that the failure was a collective one, hence moving forward in 2024, there was the need to work hard to ensure the target was achieved.

“Now we are taking charge locally, so aside the electronic bills, paper bills will also be issued, people can pay electronically, but field officers will move door to door, asking people to pay and that can be done through mobile money transaction, bank cards and cheque payment.”

He added that the revenue agents would not accept cash payment, but would assist payers to make payment based on their preferred choice.

He said the Assembly had been permitted to be off the GRA digital platform, hence the Assembly would also design its own mode of payment to achieve more of its targets.

The MCE projected eight million as revenue target for the year 2024, saying it would be achieved through Business Operating Permit (BOP), Property rates, building permits, fines and fees, health certification and marriage registration, among others.

He said the Assembly was working to ensure that the eight million projection was achieved as it intensified revenue collection base and empowered revenue collection officers.