James Klutse Avedzi has called for review of rent charges of state housing facilities and put in place measures to ensure their maintenance.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament argued that it has become necessary due to the numerous defaults in rent payment on the properties, costing the nation huge sums of money.
Mr Avedzi made these recommendations during public hearings of the 2015/2016 Auditor General’s reports on Municipal and District Assemblies and educational institutions in Volta and Eastern Regions.
Rent arrears form four Assemblies in the Volta region comprising Kpando, Agotime-Ziofe, Ketu North and Nkwanta South totalled GHC40,958.00 in 2015, with the 2016 report detailing ten Assemblies who owed a total of GHC 22,330.00.
He particularly raised concern over the average cost of rooms in some areas after it came to light that despite a two bedroom state apartment in the Kadjebi District going for as low as GHC 14.00 a month, the Assembly still owed an amount of GHC 3,396 in rent arrears for the year 2016.
Most heads of Assemblies and schools blamed the pile up on maintenance costs, and indicated that most facilities were in bad conditions and either attracted low prices or were maintained by tenants for rent extensions.
He urged the Assemblies to make budget allocations for the maintenance of such facilities in collaboration with tenants who do so themselves.
He called on revenue supervisors to “be up to their tasks”, and seek police assistance in retrieving revenue and assets which belonged to the State.
The report exposed scores of unaccounted general counterfoil receipt books with six Assemblies in Volta Region, losing a total of 159 in 2015, whiles four Assemblies in 2016 also could not produce 44 such documents.
Mr Avedzi cautioned the Finance Departments to handle records properly, and ensure payment vouchers were not mixed up in the audits.
He urged staff of the Assemblies to pay back their salary advances and loans, and charged the auditors to ensure strict compliance.
He also warned the Assemblies and schools against purchasing goods and services from non-VAT registered entities.