the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 986) in other to understand it.
Mr Speaker, while we support and approve this, we would urge the Hon Minister to liaise with the Hon Minister for Finance before Appropriation, so that the Ministry of Finance would come clear and we would know that they exercise oversight over the fund and the initiative would come.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Finance, before Appropriation, must satisfy us that he would meet the minimum five per cent, even though we know that by some other existing legislation, which is not inconsistent with the Constitution, there is seven and half per cent.
Mr Speaker, my worry is that, while we cap the DACF, the Committee came to tell this House that, they would find US$14 million. Where would they find it with the limitations of the capping?
The Hon Minister can cap, but he should free the DACF from his realignment and capping. This is because, whatever it is, this money would go for decentralised activities.
We have all said that we are committed to the development of our districts. When the number of districts were less, they were increased to seven and half per cent and now that the number of districts are more, they would want to do less. What kind of mathematical assumption is this?
Mr Speaker, we support the Hon Minister, but in order that they have more money to be able to pay counterparts, the Ministry of Finance should make available the gap between what the Hon Minister for Finance declared in the Budget Statement of his computation of five per cent of total revenue or tax revenue.
Mr Speaker, but the Hon Minister should be reminded that the two words are not synonymous. They can never be synonymous and they never mean one and the same -- that total revenue is the same as tax revenue.
Mr Speaker, we would also encourage the Hon Minister -- and with the “Increased Allocation for Compensation” in paragraph 5.1, it is a good thing. I would want to remind the Hon Minister again that, compensation, as she rightly pointed out, remains the nemesis of all governments under the Fourth Republic. Compensation, interest payment on loans and statutory funds -- that is why realignment has been done.
The Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development's headache would be the group that is called the saman saman people -- those young people -- sanitation officers who have left school.
Mr Speaker, in time past, when I was the Hon Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, I slept on the bed of thorns. Every now and then, the environmental health workers would dance to the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development's office. I remember Hon Nii Lantey Vanderpuye who was the then Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development -- I got some bashes of heavy rain.
Mr Speaker, with compensation, the Hon Minister should anticipate that, she must make room in the future, with the Hon Minister for Finance, to absorb those young people. That itself, tomorrow, would affect the compensation budget. They already have two or three batches that have not been attended to in the name of public sector rationalisation.
Mr Speaker, finally, with matters relating to naming and property address system, I believe that, it is good and that the Hon Minister must elevate it and get it completed.
We had assurance in the Budget Statement of a digital national address system. This would mean a lot for the Ghanaian banking sector because in many cases, they are not even able to trace persons who default. When this is done, apart from improving the revenue of the assemblies themselves --
Mr Speaker, I would want to end finally with the Births and Deaths Registry.
Mr Speaker, in the United States of America (USA), when a child is born, the name is provided, and it goes into a national data. So, tomorrow, there is no conflict as to whether the person was properly Ghanaian or not, consistent with our laws.
In Ghana, if we would want to have a reliable data system even for purposes of elections -- if we would want to know whether people are of age, they must rely and strengthen --
Mr Speaker, sometimes, it is worrying that we do not appreciate what the Births and Deaths Registry can do. In Ghana, my culture would be one of the guilty cultures -- Would we want them to go and register the death of a person? I am even sure that it is the same with the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development's culture. It is not known to many cultures. For purposes of succession and matters of inheritance, this is very important.
Strengthening the Births and Deaths Registry is an important intervention, and
I would encourage the Hon Minister to invest more in it. This is so that tomorrow, Ghana can have a reliable data system based on proper births. Even if one goes to the hospital and there is a birth - many of the births are done outside the hospital and therefore, we should find a way.
Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest to the Hon Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to engage the Hon Minister for Communication. We should begin to develop an information technology (IT) platform that allows citizens to register births using mobile telephony. This is because everybody seems to have one. So that if there is a birth or a death, we would be able to track down on some statistics.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I know that the Hon Minister responsible for Regional Reorganisation and Development would work in tandem with this Ministry to give meaning to creating more regions -- [Interruption] -- I am happy that he would not create more Ministries, but he would create more regions pursuant to the President's objectives.
Mr Speaker, subject to the corrections, I believe that, we should approve for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the sum of GH¢321,830,698 for their operations for the year ending 31st December, 2017.
We trust that the Hon Minister would come back to this House with some performance report that many of the targets that she set for herself -- she should behave the same way as when she was in the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). She should not go to the public sector and abandon her NGO values. She should come back to us and tell us the target she set for 2017, and what she has been able to achieve.