…Assembly position not money-making venture

ASSEMBLY members have been advised not to use their positions as money-making ventures to enrich themselves, while neglecting core responsibilities.

Speaking at a ceremony in Accra yesterday, to swear in 108 members of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Anglican Bishop of Accra, the Reverend Dr. Sylvannus Mensah Torto, reminded the new members that they had been assigned to the office to serve the interest of the state, and not to pursue their parochial interests.

He said their election or appointment indicated clearly the confidence reposed in them by the public, and, therefore, it was time for them to demonstrate commitment to serve their respective assemblies.

Rev. Dr. Torto observed that some members set out to rake in money they spent in their campaign after their swearing-in instead of focusing on the duties of their office.

According to him, such attitude was backward and did not demonstrate strong commitment to leadership which members were required to exhibit in their line of duty.

“Indiscipline has become very common in all spheres of life especially in public service. Most people are not disciplined with regards to time, public and private management. As assembly members you are being charged to spearhead the campaign for change and to help realise the mayor’s vision of turning Accra into a millennium city,” he said.

Rev. Dr. Torto challenged them to make education on sanitation a priority and help instill good behaviours in society.

Reading a speech on behalf of the Presidency, the president of the National House of Chiefs, Naa Professor John S Nabila urged assemblies to stop the over-reliance on the District Assembly Common Fund and other central government releases and rather consider revenue generation as an important function.

He said assemblies needed to generate revenue not only for recurrent expenditure but also for funding development as part of efforts of easing the financial load on the central government.

According to him, one instrumental area that could be explored to help generate more revenue for assemblies was property rate collection, which he said should serve as a special avenue of revenue collection using the appropriate data.

Naa Prof. Nabila, who is also a member of Council of State, cautioned the Town and Country Planning Department, Survey Department and the Lands Commission of various assemblies to abide by the rules and regulations of their profession concerning the allocation of plots and desist from unlawful land demarcation.

He charged them to allocate lands for their designated use in order to avoid the danger of flooding and accompanying loss of lives and property, as had been the case in some parts of the country especially during the rainy season.

“Let me also draw your attention to the steady degradation of the environment, including the issues of waste management and environmental sanitation. If we could apply the same enthusiasm with which the assembly built schools and markets, to check environmental degradation and ensuring environmental sanitation, then, and only can we be assured of a prosperous nation,” he said.

He again tasked the assemblies to provide adequate laws to deal with issues including bush burning, illegal felling of timber, illegal mining activities and environmental sanitation.

The Chief Executive of AMA, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije expressed concern about the growing population of the city and called for consolidated efforts to address the challenges posed by the increase.

He said it was time for stakeholders to double their efforts towards enhancing sanitation, housing, health and education while preparing the city adequately for shocks such as flooding, fire outbreaks, chronic water shortages and unemployment.

He noted that the assembly had, since the occurrence of the June 3, put in measures to avert recurrence while enhancing the sanitation of Accra.

According to him, available statistics on cholera, which indicated very low recorded cases as compared to that of last year, has proven the hard work of the assembly towards improving health conditions in the capital.

By Charles Amankwa

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