The leadership of the Ghana Association of elected Assembly Members (GAAM) has intimated the role of assembly members in national development and ways to improve their welfare in a meeting with President Akufo-Addo.
President of GAAM, Charles Adu Asinor, expressed appreciation to government for the continues effort in deepening decentralization and enhancing participatory democracy and uniform development.
He, however, bemoaned that little has been done over the years to improve the welfare of Assembly members who are major actors and the fulcrum of local governance.
The Association, therefore, appealed to the President to initiate policies to improve the welfare of Assembly Members.
“His Excellency, It is a well-known piece of evidence that assembly members do not obtain monthly salary but merely allowance during our meetings. G.A.A.M is therefore appealing through your high office for an enhanced monthly welfare package for assemblymen who are elected by constitution to serve as development agents by rendering a constant social services for our respective electoral areas, but clearly missing in the public shadow is the welfare of Assembly members who amount to the hinge of a District Assembly, considering the powers granted and responsibilities bestowed on us by the constitution governing local governance and decentralization in Ghana” he said.
Mr.Asinor added “His Excellency, truth must be told that the welfare and the reputation of Assembly members have been sullied and discarded by both previous and current government. A member of a District Assembly According to section-16 of Local Governance Act 936, shall as suitable maintain close contact with the electoral area of the District Assembly, discuss with the people of the electoral area on issues to be discussed in the Assembly; near the views, opinions and proposals of the electorate to the Assembly and etc”
GAAM, therefore, appealed government to amend the Constitution to support the payment of acceptable and fair allowance and ex-gratia to all assembly members across the country through the consolidated fund.
“This is because the financial capabilities of assemblies differ from others and that, when payment of allowance are left to the assemblies alone, assembly members across the country would continue to experience inequality as less privilege assemblies do not generate enough revenue to meet the demands of article 250 clause 2. therefore, please accept our plea to give a reasonable standard amount to all elected assembly members from the consolidated fund as the assembly decides on what to give as an ex-gratia and please call on the MMDA’s to pay all outstanding ex-gratia to the immediate past assemblies”.
The Assembly Members expressed dissatisfaction over delay in releasing motorbikes meant for them stating that, ” the motorbikes are rather given to us at the end of our services as ex-gratia.When it happens like that, the intended purpose of the bikes are not achieved. In addition because of the challenges posed in using motorbikes, we plead to government to provide us with vehicles (cars) to enable us to run our day to day activities smoothly. We are appealing to your high office to consider our plea for the betterment of the assembly and Ghana as a whole.”
On Electoral Violence.
The Ghana Association of Elected Assembly Members (GAAM) a called on Leadership of the two major political parties to ensure that the December 7 election is conducted peacefully.
GAAM assured that “it shall be more than willing to partner with all arms of government to lead Ghana to peaceful elections”.
The Assembly Members presented a citation to honour President Akufo-Addo for “the remarkable achievements attained as President of the Republic of Ghana within your first term of office as President ”
President Akuf- Addo in brief remarks commended Assembly Members for the sacrifice over the years. He assured them the commitment of government to improving their welfare.
He directed that leadership of the Association sits with National Association of Local Governance (NALAG) to push for the collective agenda.