The development of district Local Revenue (dLRev) software was initiated in 2013 under the Support for Decentralisation Reform (SfDR) Programme implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. SfDR is a bilateral programme between the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the Federal Republic of Germany which came to an end officially in September 2019 after 12 years of implementation, but now has a successor programme – Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID). The GovID Programme started in October 2020 and runs till September 2023. It is being implemented at the national and sub-national levels with key partners as Ghana Revenue Authority, The Ghana Audit Service, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and 100 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). In 2012, the SfDR Programme started implementation of a Local Revenue Enhancement Project with the aim of assisting target MMDAs to increase their local revenue especially for property rates and business operating permits (licences). To achieve this objective, SfDR undertook a ‘Comprehensive Review of the Revenue Landscape in Ghana’ to establish the key constraints of local revenue operations of the district level. The review involved engagements with national, regional and district level agencies and actors to unearth existing and on-going initiatives which could foster improvements from the structural, systemic and operational perspectives for local revenue mobilisation. At the district level, the areas of interest for the review included among others data quality, software use for data storage, billing and collection as well as the use of Geographical Information System. A range of key challenges were unearthed from the review including:
Based on the above, a reform process was initiated aimed at making use of existing government systems and tools to implement dLRev. The following key areas were considered to start the process:
There is no doubt that in recent past, Ghana interest for increased digitisation for the management of the economy. This outlook was foreseen by the SfDR Programme as far back as 2012 and therefore supported the preparation and issuance of the Street Naming and Property Addressing Policy and Guidelines. This was also anchored on utilising the Land Use Planning and Management Information System (LUPMIS) to develop spatial databases as the basis for the establishment of fiscal cadastre for revenue mobilisation for dLRev.
It is understood that the spatial databases of MMDAs will ultimately be consolidated to become the basic platform to be used by all other relevant government agencies for their operations and influence the way of doing business in Ghana.
dLRev is a tailor-made software solution for Ghana’s Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) developed by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for the Government of Ghana. The cloud-based software is a one-stop-shop for the whole revenue management cycle: Data collection, printing and electronic billing, revenue collection, mobile payments and reporting.
The dLRev desktop software can be easily used on any computer or mobile device with an internet browser such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Edge or Internet Explorer. The main user interface shows an interactive map of the district. This unique feature allows a very simple, intuitive control over all software functions, including administration, data upload and maintenance, revenue management, statistics and reporting. For the work outside the office, dLRev provides two supplementary apps: The data collection app allows to easily build and update the revenue database and can be used on any mobile device. The revenue collection app is available for Android devices and allows the collection of property rates, market fees and all other revenue items. The apps can work temporary offline and sync data once re-connected to the internet.
dLRev is freely available to all MMDAs in Ghana. It was created with open-source software. dLRev is handed-over to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) for the purpose of domestic revenue collection, including complete documentation, user manuals and administrator’s guide. Currently, a modern IT helpdesk is set up at MLGRD to ensure efficient user support.
dLRev processes the whole cycle of revenue management within the secure environment of the Government of Ghana. All data is safely stored on the servers of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA). Mobile payment options are processed securely through Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), a subsidiary of the Bank of Ghana. The interface to the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) embeds dLRev into the data infrastructure of the Ministry of Finance. dLRev is in line with Ghana’s Street Naming and Property Addressing (SNPA) policy. It is fully compatible with Ghana’s Land Use and Planning Management Information System (LUPMIS).
Since 2013, the governments of Ghana and Germany pursue to enhance domestic revenue mobilization in Ghana’s MMDAs through the GIZ implemented Support for Decentralisation Reforms (SfDR) programme. The dLRev software was piloted 2015 in five districts in the Western Region. Since 2016, the SfDR programme with additional funds from the United States of America and Canada supported 60 MMDAs in all regions of Ghana to increase their IGF and introduce dLRev. Since 2019, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) so- funded the support of additional 27 MMDAs. Currently, the Governance for Inclusive Development and SfDR programmes support 90 MMDAS to set-up dLRev for the collection of property rates and business operating permits.