Public finance for sanitation: Analysis of the sanitation surcharge in Ga West, 2017-2019

Themes: Sanitation Urban Sanitation Research Initiative WASH
Countries: Ghana

Ghana’s 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are legally mandated to provide social services, including sanitation infrastructure and services, to their residents.

MMDAs have full discretion over how they spend internally generated funds. However, of Ghana’s total spending on sanitation, only 2% is raised through domestic public finance.

GWMA introduced a financial mechanism to increase its internal funds for sanitation, one of the few MMDAs to do so. The sanitation surcharge was approved in October 2016, came into effect in January 2017 and consists of a 10% surcharge applied to the property tax. Revenue raised through the surcharge is to be ring-fenced for sanitation improvement in Ga West. This research analysed the effectiveness of the surcharge in terms of amount collected, ring-fenced and disbursed to date, as well as its support among the taxpayers and policy-makers of GWMA.