MMDAs urged to orientate Assembly Members

Accra- Dr Eric Oduro Osae, a local government expert, on Friday urged the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to organise orientation for inducted Assembly Members, in order to empower them to understand their roles and responsibilities.

Dr Osae, who is also the Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), said each MMDA must ensure that their Assembly Members were equipped with copies of the relevant laws, which would help them to start their work on a good note.

These laws include; the Local Government Act 2016 (Act 936), the New Model Standing Orders, the Public Financial Management Act 2016 (Act 921) and the Legislative Instrument (LI) 1967 for Sub-Structures, the LI establishing the various Assemblies, and the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra, Dr Osae said the MLGRD and other relevant institutions would be organising a nationwide orientation for the new Assembly Members.

However, it was the duty of the various assemblies to also take it upon themselves to organise orientations and induction training programmes for them.

He explained it was because each Assembly was different and had its own unique characteristics.

He said the District Assemblies had different problems and challenges; adding that the Assembly Members needed to understand the problems and challenges facing their respective districts, to contribute to finding solutions to them.

Dr Osae urged the Assembly Members to keep themselves abreast with the minutes of the previous Assembly and the annual reports and various MMDAs should expose members to the Assembly’s development plan and the budget they prepared for 2020.

That he said was because development plans and budgets were approved by the previous Assembly, so there was the need for the new Assembly to continue with the process.

Dr Osae also reminded the MMDAs to set up committees; this was very critical because the Assembly works in committees.

“If you set up all the committees, then you will be able to work with the management. Two important committees should be set up almost immediately for the purpose of improving management and checks and balances within the Assembly system”.

He noted that the first of the committees was the Public Relations and Complaints Committee, which was normally chaired by the Presiding Member.

Its membership included; civil society organisations operating within the district, the District Officer of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and then other members of the Assembly.

It served as a check on the staff of the Assembly, the Assembly Members themselves and the District Chief Executives.

“To the extent that if any of these functionaries are not performing their functions well, a citizen can bring complains before the Committee,” he said.

Dr Osae said the next Committee that was also of importance was the Executive Committee, which is chaired by the District Chief Executive and virtually operates like the cabinet at the local level.

He said once the two committees were in place, then one could create sub-committees of the Executive Committee: Social Services Committee, Development Planning Committee, and the Environmental Committee.

“So, if you have the Committees set up, then you know that work can start. Until you create the Committees, the Assemblies will be operating in a vacuum,” Dr Osae told the GNA.

He said since the Assemblies were about ending the first quarter, the Assembly Members needed to also know their composite budgets, revenue projections and then see how best as a general Assembly they would be able to help them.

Dr Osae appealed to the Assembly Members to work together with their Chief Executives to promote the development agenda of the district.

He urged them to avoid undermining their Chief Executives; declaring that “this is because once you work to undermine or you are at loggerhead with the Chief Executive, nothing moves on in the Assembly”.

Source: Ghana News Agency