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Friday, May 27, 2022

Amend law barring local service workers from contesting Assembly elections

Some attendees of the conference

The National President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana, NALAG, Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum, has called for the amendment of the law barring local government service workers from contesting to represent their people at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) until they resign from their positions.

He believes the law is unfair to the extent that workers from other institutions are allowed to contest in Assembly elections whiles at the same time keeping their jobs unlike their counterparts in the local service.

He, therefore, called for the review of the law to create a level-playing ground for all to ensure fairness instead of preventing others interested in making it to the Assembly to serve their people by bringing development to their respective electoral areas.

Mr. Bismark Nkum also raised the red flag over the meagre salaries some Assemblies give to their members in the name of ex gratia.

He disclosed that some assemblies pay their members a paltry amount of ex gratia as low as ₵35.00 which he indicated are even sometimes in arrears. He said this is so because the ex gratia payments have not been streamlined as the law in the 1992 constitution stipulating ex gratia payments directs the MMDAs to make the payments out of their Internal Generated Fund (IDF) when in actual fact, their IDF are worlds apart and the IDF of other assemblies is nothing to write home about.

Explaining further, he maintains that part of the constitution be amended so as to streamline the ex gratia payments Assembly members take home at the end of their tenure. The NALAG President while commending Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President of Ghana for his instrumental role in the acquisition of motorbikes for Assembly members nationwide which he said aid in their movements in the discharge of their work, nonetheless mentioned that more needed to be done to enable them to succeed on their mandate since the provision of the bikes alone cannot achieve that.

He revealed the distribution of the motorbikes to the various MMDAs was still ongoing and that all assemblies would have been covered by the end of January, 2022.

He said these at the first Regional Delegates’ Conference of NALAG in Wa on Monday, January 17, 2022, held every two years in the regions to elect regional representatives to serve on the National Executive Council.

A similar conference is also set to be replicated in all the other regions to pave way for the National Delegates Conference at a later date yet to be announced, to elect its national officers for the next two years. Mr. Bismark Baisie Nkum has meanwhile declared his intent to contest again in the upcoming National Executives elections to serve another tenure.

The theme for the conference is, ‘Transforming Local Economies for Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery’.

The General Secretary, Kokro Amankwah, in a speech read for him, said despite the delay in the organization of the event due to financial and logistical challenges as well as the delay in the confirmation of the MMDCEs, some successes were chalked with respect to the sensitization on the Covid-19 pandemic, the training and capacity building programme for the elected and appointed women across the country, Unit committee training of trainers programme and the distribution of motorbikes to some regions among others.

According to him, just as Ghana’s economy was not spared of the vagaries of the Covid-19 Pandemic like other economies in the world, the various MMDAs were also left struggling borne of a lot of pressure on their finances and service provision.

He furthered: “It is in this regard that the theme reiterated the need for a robust approach to local economic development (LED) since national efforts will not yield the needed impact if it is not linked to the total inclusive and sustainable economic recovery at the local level. This is a clarion call for the MMDAs to strategize and focus more on harnessing the human, financial and natural resources both within the private and public sectors through PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) in their respective assemblies to create jobs, increase income and reduce poverty.

“Creating an inclusive and sustainable economy means that no one is left behind. It is in this goal of inclusiveness that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is supporting NALAG to implement a 6 years project namely the Partnership for Municipal Innovation- Women in Local Leadership (PMI-WILL) which is aimed at increasing the participation of women in local governance and inclusive service delivery at the MMDAs in 5 regions of Ghana. I entreat all the MMDAs within the selected 5 regions namely Bono East, Upper West, Eastern, Northern, Greater Accra to apply.”

During the polls to elect the Upper West Regional representative to serve on the NALAG Council, Dr. Dawud Tanko Daniel from the Sissala East Municipal Assembly emerged the winner having gone unopposed. Dr. Dawud Daniel pledged to give his best for the growth of the association as his failure would be a disappointment to him.

Dr. Ewurah Suleman Kandia Mahama, DCE for Wa East District Assembly was presented with two citations in recognition of his achievements having risen from being an Assembly member to becoming a Presiding Member and then again, through to the position of a DCE today.

The biennial regional conference of NALAG provides an opportunity for members in the regions, to take stock of the years under review, plan for the coming years as well as affords delegates the opportunity to elect a representative of the region to the National Executive Council (NEC).

NALAG is an official mouthpiece of all the MMDAs in Ghana with a core mandate to promote effective decentralization and local government administration through advocacy, lobbying, research and capacity building whiles protecting the rights and the privileges of its core stakeholders namely Assembly Members, Presiding Members, Chief Executives and other staff of the assembly.

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