Assembly members demand payment of allowances

Concerned Assembly members in the Western Region have proposed an amendment of the constitutional provisions on the payment of allowances to them.

They claimed that they have monitored reports on a meeting between the National Executive Council (NEC) of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) and the Vice President and agreed that central government supports the payment of an equitable and fair allowances for all Assembly members and also the procurement of logistics (motorbikes) to help them perform their duties.

“There are issues to be fixed by way of constitutional amendment in order for any such desire to be realised. This is because the financial capabilities of the Assemblies differ and that when payment of allowances are left to the Assemblies alone, Assembly members across the country will experience inequalities as less privileged Assemblies don’t generate enough revenue to meet the demands of article 250(2).” they contended.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Percy Ahenakwa, made the point at a news conference held here on Friday at Agona Nkwanta in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region on the growing tension among members on emoluments and other welfare issues.

He added that “the Minister of Local government and Rural Development implement with immediate effect her proposal to increase the allocation to sub-structures from two per cent to 10 per cent. That Central government should work out the amendment to operationalise a transparent formula for payments of ex-gratia and call on the MMDAs to as a matter of urgency pay all outstanding ex-gratia to the members of the immediate past Assembly.”

 Referring to article 250(2) of the Constitution, Mr Ahenakwa stated that the emoluments of a Presiding member of a District Assembly and other members of the Assembly “shall be determined by the District Assembly and paid out of the Assembly’s own resources.”

He argued that “the issue of remuneration/salary/allowances for Assembly members are constitutional and that it is only when the constitutional provision has been amended then we can begin to talk about payment of salaries. We will be glad to welcome any such decision as far as it relates to amendment of article 250(2) and practical.”

Presently, Mr Ahenakwa, who is also the Assembly member for Komdueku/Ituma Electoral Area, said Assembly members belonged to different categories of professionals, including medical doctors, teachers, nurses and other public servants, whose salaries are already charged to the consolidated fund.

He, however, wondered whether, they would be encouraging double salaries should the request be granted in the present state of the Law.

Again, there was the question of whether or not fully employed Assembly members who were also staff of other government agencies would now have the option to chose which salary to draw and whether or not the present state of the law made the office of the Assembly member a staff of the Assembly whether full time or a part time.

“We will be happy to experience an enhanced condition of service for Assembly members and this includes any effort to ensure a fair and equitable emolument paid to us. It is however important we not allow any group of people with their parochial interest to pretend to leading us to a path unknown.” Mr Ahenakwa said.

 He recalled that a group which called itself Ghana Association of Assembly Members (GAAM) with unknown structures, was using the social media and mainstream media to claim remuneration for assembly members.

The Coordinator told the journalists that Assembly members recognised only the mother association, NALAG and the Conference of Presiding Members.

Pics Mr Percy Ahenakwa, Coordinator of Concerned Assembly members addressing the journalists

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, AGONA NKWANTA

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