A high level delegation from the Western Regional Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands embarked on a significant mission to inspect infrastructure projects financed by the Prestea Huni Valley Municipal Assembly (PHMA) through its 55% share of Stool Land revenue. The team of delegation present were the Regional Stool Lands Officer, the Deputy Regional Stool Lands Officer and the Regional Accountant. On their arrival, they met with key officials of PHMA, including the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), the Municipal Coordinating Director (MCD), the Municipal Finance Officer (MFO) and other senior Staff.

The inspection was to ensure transparency and accountability in the utilization of Stool Lands revenue, which is considered communal revenue benefiting all subjects and residents of the various traditional Stools within the municipality.

The use of the revenue

In his opening remarks, Mr. Eric Baade Pogbekuu, the Regional Stool Lands Officer (RSLO), underscored the communal nature of Stool Land revenue and its importance in fostering community development. He emphasized that, the optimal way for an Assembly to account for the use of Stool Lands revenue is by investing it in tangible, community-centric projects that are easily identifiable and accessible to the general public. Mr. Pogbekuu highlighted that, the team’s visit was intended to inspect these projects and ascertain their alignment with the intended utilization of the revenue.

Officials response

In response, Hon Dr. Isaac Dasmani, the DCE of PHMA, warmly welcomed the Western Regional team and commended their proactive approach to ensuring transparency. He provided insights into the various projects that PHMA had undertaken using its share of Stool Lands revenue and expressed the Assembly’s commitment to facilitating the inspection.

Earth-moving Grader

Notable among the projects inspected was a Grader Earth-moving machine and a 6-unit classroom block in Awodua, which was still under construction. During the inspection, it was observed that the Earth-moving Grader had been labelled as funded by the Mineral Development Fund (MDF). In response, the RSLO urged PHMA to appropriately label such projects as “FUNDED BY STOOL LAND REVENUE.” He clarified that Stool Land revenue encompasses various components, including ground rent, farm rent, concession rent, mineral royalties and timber royalties, among others. Therefore, labelling a project as funded by the MDF could be misleading, as mineral royalties are just one form of Stool Land revenue. He emphasized that the moment the 10% of mineral royalties is released from the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) to the Office for disbursement, it becomes Stool Land revenue. Proper labelling, he noted, would provide transparency and encourage timely payments of ground rent, farm rent, concession rent, and other forms of stool land revenue.

Initial approach to MDF

PHMA expressed their appreciation for the RSLO’s insightful explanations and committed to complying with the labelling directive. They shared that, when they sought funds for the Earth-moving Grader’s purchase, they initially approached the MDF. However, the MDF directed them to the OASL, emphasizing that the funds became Stool Land revenue once they left the MDF. The Assembly further suggested that, the OASL collaborate with the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to establish an expenditure code specifically for Stool Land revenue, as they currently have expenditure codes for the MDF but not for Stool Land revenue.

Appreciation to the Office

On behalf of PHMA, the DCE extended profound gratitude to the Office for promptly releasing their share of Stool Land revenue, which enabled the Assembly to acquire the Earth-moving Grader and continue various infrastructure projects. The RSLO reciprocated the gratitude and assured PHMA that, their appreciation and suggestions would be conveyed to the relevant authorities. The inspection served as a testament to the commitment of both the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands and PHMA to transparent and accountable stewardship of communal resources for the betterment of the community and the Region as a whole.