‘Assembly members must study standing orders to debate effectively’

Mr Jonathan Azasoo, a Deputy Director of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has called on Assembly members to keep abreast with the Model Standing Orders (MSO) of the district assemblies to enable them to contribute effectively at assembly sittings.

He explained that lack of understanding and deep knowledge of the orders, has made it difficult for many assembly members to contribute to debates during meetings.

Mr Azasoo made the call at a workshop organised for Central Regional Assembly Members on the New Local Governance Act 2016 (Act 938), at Cape Coast.

It was jointly organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) with support from the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralisation.

Mr Azasoo noted that the orders had carefully spelt out the duties and responsibilities of assembly members adding “as members, the constitution enjoins all members to study the orders to perform their mandate”.

Touching on the immunities in the new act, he said the act provided strong immunities to assembly members who were performing duties for the assembly, going to and/or returning from its duties or sittings.

Mr Michael Ofei, a consultant with the MLGRD, urged the members to fully commit themselves to working for the betterment and welfare of the people to improve their standard of living.

He said they must regularly meet their constituents on their problems, challenges and views on issues to help send the right feedback to the assembly and government.

To ease communication challenges and bridge the gap with the people, assembly members were asked to constantly facilitate public communication engagements for easier access to information in their localities.

“Every resident in the district shall have access on request to information held by a district assembly or department of the district assembly subject to limitation imposed by law,” he stressed.

The local governance expert, appealed to assemblies to open up more communication channels to the public by creating a responsive and friendly communication avenues that allowed all to feel confident to work with them. -GNA


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