Intergovernmental Grant Transfers from Central to Local Levels of Government in Ghana: Does Formula Allocation Prevents Political Influences?

Abel Fumey, Festus O. Egwaikhide, Oluwatosin A. Adeniyi


This study examines how the district assemblies’ common fund grant is distributed among the local governments in Ghana to ascertain the objectivity of the sharing formula scheme created under the 1992 Constitution. The dynamic GMM panel estimation approach is employed for the empirical analysis with focus on new versus mature democracy and how swing and aligned districts tend to benefit from the distribution. Annual data on the fund disbursements and the election outcomes from 1994 to 2018 for 216 district assemblies is used. The findings reveal that average transfers to each district was Gh?7.54 million which generally increased by 9.4 percent in election years reflecting the opportunistic behavior of incumbent governments. Swing districts benefited more from the increase than non-swing districts, as the former received 4.3 percent more than the latter. Aligned districts in new democracy received, 2 percent more than non-aligned ones, while it was 4.3 percent more for swing districts in mature democracy. Therefore, the allocation formula is subject to political manipulations hence it is recommended that the unilateral appointment of the fund’s administrator by incumbent Presidents be reviewed in addition to creating autonomous public agencies to be responsible for the allocation formula and the fund administration independently.

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