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05.05.2005 Regional News

Amend District Assembly Law - Presiding Member

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Gomoa Eshiem (C/R), May 5, GNA - The Presiding Member of Gomoa District Assembly, Mr Fred Oscar Abban, has called for the amendment of Act 462 establishing District Assemblies to cater for remuneration for Assembly and Unit Committee Members.

Mr Abban noted that if democracy should be felt at the grassroots for the people's effective participation, there was the need to reward Assembly and Unit Committee Members.

"There is no free lunch in Ghana now, therefore to expect people to work for their communities free of charge has become a mirage," he said. The Presiding Member made the call at the launch of the fifth National Constitution Week in the Gomoa District at Eshiem on Tuesday on the theme "Enhancing People Participation in Local Governance in Reducing Poverty."

"A soldier does not march on an empty stomach therefore it is a fallacy to expect Assembly and Unit Committee Members who are initiators and implementers of development programmes and also implementers of government policies and programmes to do all these things free of charge.

Some Assembly have as many as eight or more communities in their Electoral Areas, which they have to visit periodically on their own, he said.

"Unit Committee Members will prefer to do some jobs to earn something for their daily bread instead of mobilising the people for a communal activities," Mr Abban added.

Mr Abban stated that this accounted for the non-performance of Unit Committees and Town/Area Councils.

He said that even though the work of Assembly and Unit Committee Members could not be equated to that of Members of Parliament, they should also enjoy a certain percentage of the earnings of MPs since the Parliamentarians relied on them for the implementation of their programmes. Mr Abban appealed to the government to provide National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with vehicles and other logistics to enhance its work.

The Presiding Member urged Assembly and Unit Committee Members and traditional authorities and appealed to them to see each other as a partner in development and not rivals. Mr Isaac Sam, Gomoa District Director of the NCCE stressed the need for workshops, seminars and other activities to sensitise Assembly and Unit Committee Members and traditional rulers on their roles in the Local Government structure.

He appealed to the Assembly to support the Town/Area Councils to enable them to function effectively. 05 May 05

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