The Upper East Regional branch of the Ghana Association of elected Assembly Members (GAAM) has threatened to boycott the confirmation of the Municipal and District Chief Executive (MDCEs) nominees when announced, if government fails to address their welfare concerns.
According to the Assembly Members, although their work was sacrificial, government had the responsibility to address their welfare issues which was within their right, to help facilitate their work and ensure development in their respective electoral areas.
At a news conference held at Bolgatanga, the Elected Assembly Members who described their fate as discriminatory said most of the work at the local government level was done by the Assembly Members ranging from facilitating revenue collection to addressing some concerns of the electorates yet they were not appreciated.
The Assembly Members therefore called on government to address their concerns before announcing the nominees for the positions of MDCES to avoid their wrath.
Mr David Adoliba, the Regional President of GAAM who read the Petition on behalf of the Association, said they had proposed for the establishment of an Electoral Area Development Fund to be financed through a five per cent cut from the District Assembly Common Fund.
This, he said, would enable elected Assembly Members to access the fund to undertake minor development projects including, patching of potholes, re-roofing of classrooms, clearing of gutters, repairs of streetlights and other emergency matters.
The Association also urged government to consider paying Assembly Members monthly allowances and ensure that their ex-gratia was flat across the country to avoid discrimination and should be paid from the Consolidated Fund and not the Internally Generated Fund.
“Per the directive from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Metropolitans, Municipals and Districts are supposed to pay Assembly Members GHS2000.00, GHS1500.00 and GHS1000.00 as their ex-gratia but some Assemblies still owe Assembly Members two years after their tenure of office.
“We are hereby calling on such Assemblies to pay all outstanding monies owed the Assembly Members before the confirmation of the government nominees for the various MDCEs”.
They also want government to continue the distribution of the motorbikes acquired for the Assembly Members and help them to acquire cars on tax free basis to facilitate their work.
The Assembly Members also called on government through the Regional Coordinating Council to assist the remaining five districts in the region which had not been able to elect their Presiding Members to do so.
They are Builsa South, Bawku West, Talensi, Binduri and Tempane Districts.
The Assembly Members advocated the amendment of the Local Government Act to allow for the election of the Presiding Member position to be based on simple majority
“It must be noted that the Local Government Act of 2016, Act 936 gave the mandate of summons for the confirmation of MMDCE nominees to only the Presiding Members, so we expect that the Presiding Members must be elected and allowed to summon the house to consider the confirmation of the MMDCE nominees,” it added.
The Assembly Members explained that when the above concerns were addressed it would not only enhance their work and development of their respective electoral areas, but further encourage people to take up the role of Assembly Members.
“We are therefore stating that, if our concerns are not addressed before the announcement of the MMDCE nominees, we will have no option than to join our colleagues in other regions to boycott the confirmation of the MDCE nominees in the region,” they stressed.