The District Chief Executive for Gomoa West in the Central Region, Bismark Baisie Nkum, who is vying to become the President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana, NALAG, is calling for a review of Act 936 to make it possible for Assembly Members to be paid salaries.
Speaking to journalists in Sunyani ahead of the NALAG election, Bismark Baisie Nkum noted that paying Assembly Members salaries is long overdue.
He however says should he emerge as NALAG President, he will ensure that allowances given to assembly members are increased while they fight for a review of the law.
“Assembly Members deserve to receive equal pay for their work; but unfortunately the current laws may not support its implementation today. There is the need for a new law to cater for that,” he argued.
Vision for NALAG
Mr. Baisie Nkum, who holds an MBA in finance and an LLB, and considers himself a young strategist, says he entered the race because he believes NALAG is not playing the role deserving of an umbrella body, and that that the supporting role of NALAG is either not well defined or not being executed properly.
“The welfare of its members is not seen to be promoted. NALAG as it is today is not positioned as first class Local government support, and NALAG is mostly heard of only during conferences,” he noted.
The DCE, who has largely been commended for spearheading several development projects in his district in the past two years, says he consulted widely with various stakeholders in the Central Region and in other regions before taking the decision to contest.
He says, in making NALAG relevant, he will ensure the provision of a platform for healthy engagements among Chief Executives & Presiding Members and Assembly members. This he says will enable various MMDAs through MMDCEs and MMDPMs to have constant interaction to discuss matters of common interest.
“NALAG can then pick decisions out of these engagements to ensure their consideration for Legislation. A typical example is the decision to get MMDCEs elected. There should have been some kind of discussions among MMDCEs, MMDPMS and Assembly members engineered by NALAG. These platforms will also provide an opportunity for MMDCEs and especially presiding members to speak heart to heart on issues bothering Welfare of Assembly members and PMs as well. Issues concerning whether or not Assembly members should properly be enumerated. These kinds of platforms provide the opportunity for objective discussions on the matter. NALAG today has not taken this up. NALAG tomorrow will”.
In ensuring accountability and transparency, Mr. Baisie Nkum says he will institute a peer review mechanism and also facilitate the provision of logistics for NALAG to be effective at the grassroots.
“Using the results from the District League Table, NALAG can facilitate a peer review system among the high performing and low performing MMDAs for mutual benefits.”
The Gomoa West DCE says he also has a vision to facilitate Sister City arrangements locally and abroad.
“It is important to recognize that MMDAs do not operate in an Island. MMDAs are in competition with other local authorities globally for resources and investments. There is the need therefore to expand our frontiers beyond our Assemblies. NALAG as an Umbrella Association has the leverage to facilitate this. With right leadership we can open our member MMDAs to these relationships and thereby open up Ghana as a whole for investment and cultural diversity. This will be done with MMDCEs and MMDPMs spearheading the arrangements once it is established “he said.
Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum says he’s also committed to the facilitation of capacity building for MMDCEs, MMDPMs and Assembly members to meet the demands of ever changing dynamics of local government.
Mr. Nkum’s elaborate plan includes the institution of a welfare scheme for members, an MMDA help desk, rebranding and awareness creation, the institution of the NALAG Day in order for the Association to be vibrant and recognized by the Ghanaian population as a working association.
“Depending upon the demands of the time, the Association may chose activities in Sanitation, health, security or education” Mr. Nkum added.
He also promised a functional website for the association, an increase in participation, quarterly update to MMDAs, and a push for the issuance of service passports to facilitate travels by MMDCEs, presiding members and Assembly members.