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General News of Sunday, 22 February 2009

Source: GNA

Calls for institution of fixed ex-gratia for Assembly members

Gomoa Afranse, Feb. 22, GNA - Members of the Gomoa East District Assembly have appealed to the government to fix end-of-service benefit for members of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the country.

Prince Charles Abbam, the Presiding Member, who made the appeal said the present situation when end-of-service benefit of members of the assemblies were determined by the assemblies on the ability to pay was not only cheating but a disservice to the decentralization policy. Making the appeal at the inauguration of new government appointees to the assembly at Gomoa Afranse in the Central Region, Prince Abbam suggested that such benefits must be paid from the consolidated fund and must be the same amount for all members of the MMDAs, to avoid disparity.

To support his argument, the presiding member said, while the then Gomoa District Assembly, from which the Gomoa East was carved paid six hundred old cedis (600.00) to its members in 2002, some assemblies paid c2,000,000.

He said when the Gomoa Assembly in 2006 paid 2,000,000.00 it had to be done in two installments.

He stated that the assemblies on which the decentralization policy was based could perform better if the members knew they would go home after four years of dedicated service with some enhanced benefit. Prince Abbam said, apart from some meagre sitting allowances, members received no monthly remunerations, yet the district assembly concept enjoined them to play leading roles in improvement of standard of living in their communities. Last year, he said NALAG initiated a programme to acquire motor cycles costing GH¢ 560.00 movements but the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development refused to support the programme. Meanwhile some members had about 18 scattered communities in their electoral areas to cater for.

He expressed regret that the nation only thought of the welfare of members of parliament, "leaving those of us who are the implementers of policies and programmes at the grassroots."

Nine appointees made up of three females and two traditional rulers were sworn in by Mr. Nathaniel Nimako, a Magistrate at Dawurampong. Two members were selected to the Central Regional Electoral College for the Council of State election. Mr. Atta Ullah Dason, District Coordinating Director appealed to the members to support the assembly in revenue generation. 22 Feb. 09