13.04.2010 Politics

Assemblies to make input into the constitutional review - NALAG

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Zabzugu (N/R), April 12, GNA - The General Secretary of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Sherif, has called on assembly members of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to collectively submit position paper on the ongoing decentralisation and constitutional review processes.

There are many operational challenges facing decentralisation in Ghana after two decades of implementation.

Alhaji Sherif made the reminder when he addressed the assembly members of the Zabzugu/Tatale District Assembly at Zabzugu in the Northern Region.

He said one of such challenges is the two-thirds of the total number of assembly members needed to elect a presiding member for an assembly, which sometimes make it difficult for an assembly to elect a presiding member.

He indicated that some vote as many as five times at different sessions and when it does happen, work of the assembly comes to a standstill.

He appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) to take a second look at the provision and ensure that it is amended to a simple majority to save time and money.

According to the NALAG General Secretary, this will go a long way to maintain the unity in assemblies, and avoid the partisan nature characterising the election of presiding members throughout the country.

Alhaji Sherif stated that on the constitutional challenges those of them in NALAG realised that ex-gratia for assembly members is tied to the internally generated funds (IGF) which most assemblies cannot afford to pay.

He also noted that it is their hoped that with the constitutional review process this provision would be amended to allow ex-gratia for assembly members to be paid from the consolidated fund, to give true meanings to popular participation at the local level, since assembly members are also elected by their constituents.

Alhaji Sherif suggested to the assemblies to commit some funds from the District Assemblies Common Fund, to support local entrepreneurs such as farmers and small business enterprises, to expand their businesses.

He said when this is done the assembly can turn around to tax these businesses to increase their internally generated fund.

He added that this will also serve as a good source for creating job opportunities for the large teeming unemployed youth in the area.

Alhaji Sherif announced that approval has been granted to procure 5,124 motorbikes for 139 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, which resolved to purchase the motorbikes and this would be paid from the assemblies' share of the District Assemblies Common Fund.

He said that all the 20 assemblies in the Northern Region, including Zabzugu/Tatale are benefiting from the package.

Alhaji Sherif stated that tender has been opened and evaluation report presented to the Minister for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for study, to be followed by the award of contract supplies to begin.


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