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10.06.2009 Regional News

TMA Members Want Increase In Allowances

By Our Reporter -
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The 56-members of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) have requested for an increase in their allowances as motivation for them to work effectively. 

They complained that allowances given to them were woefully inadequate to encourage them to work efficiently to meet the expectations of the electorate.

Presently the members collect GH¢30.00 for every sitting of the assembly, in addition to GH¢50.00 every monthly termed  “operational duty allowance” (ODA), all sourced from the assembly's internally generated funds.

The members, made the demand at a day's meeting organised for them by the Foundation for Female Photo Journalists (FFPJ), which is advocating the need for allowances for assembly members in the country.

The members admitted that though the assembly's work was voluntary they perform equally very important duties as the legislature and therefore should be given appreciable remuneration from  central government sources as morale booster for them to work to the satisfaction of the electorate who voted them into power.

“The central government has transferred power through decentralisation, so it should be able to give some token to assembly members and this would be supplemented,” they stated.

 According to them, they conduct communal labour monthly which involves a lot of money as the participants normally demand food and some money after the exercise.

Some of the assembly members said the electorate normally judged them by the number of cleaning exercises they organised and how huge their donations were during funerals for re-election into power.

They expressed the need for the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to convince the government to absorb part of the remuneration in order to execute their duties efficiently “else this would be a disincentive for people to volunteer to contest during assembly elections”.

Some of the members were not happy with the Assembly's administration for privatising some of its revenue generation sources, describing it as waste of funds as this could be undertaken by the regular staff of the assembly who are on the payroll.

Opinion poll conducted by FFPJ in a film which was shown to the members at the meeting indicated that the assemblies are the live wire in the communities, and therefore must be resourced adequately to make the work attractive to avoid corruption.

Madam Ohui Ofoe, Executive Director of the FFPJ said her outfit was using four assemblies namely, Tema, Cape Coast, Kumasi and Accra as a pilot project to sample views on the essence of members receiving remuneration.

She noted that over the years remuneration had not been attractive. However, members should be guided by the economic situation in the country and make realistic demands in order not to render the assemblies bankrupt.

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