The Paramount Chief of Dormaa Traditional Area in the Bono region, Osagyefo Oseadeyo Dr Agyeman Badu II, has, according to a story we have carried at our business page today, proposed payment of stipends to Assembly Members representing the people at the local level. Oseadeyo Agyemang Badu, who is the President of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs, believes it is time the government considered paying assembly members across the country to enable them serve the people better.
“I’m appealing to President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia whom we have entrusted our resources, to consider such a worthy call. I’ll take it upon myself and write to the presidency for our Assembly Members who do chunk of the work at the local level to be paid”, he said.
Oseadeyo Agyemang Badu, apart from being one of the respected chiefs in the country, is also a High Court Judge. We, nevertheless, disagree with his proposal that assembly members should be paid. Already we are all crying that just 700,000 out of 31 million Ghanaians on the government payroll are consuming over 60% of revenues we generate in this country.
Our checks indicate that Ghana currently has 261 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). If each of these assemblies has 15 members, we are talking about 3,915 that are going to be added to the payroll and this is even on the lowest side. Apart from their salaries, these assembly members upon employment are also going to demand payment of ex-gratia among other fringe benefits from the state. The bid question then is: can our struggling economy sustain this?
Framers of the law anticipated this and, therefore, suggested that assembly members should not be paid and that their work should be a voluntary one. In other words, assembly work should not be a permanent job for the assembly members. They should, however, be paid allowances anytime they attend meetings.
This is what the law says, but we have even gone beyond this to start buying motorbikes as a reward to assembly members who successfully complete the tenure of office. In our opinion, this should be enough reward for the assembly members. There is already an enormous pressure on our scarce national resources and nothing should be done to exacerbate the situation.
Available information indicates that some of the assemblies cannot even generate enough domestic revenue to pay their staff. Some even rely on the Common Fund for their recurrent expenditures. In the face of all these challenges, Osagyefo Oseadeyo Dr Agyeman Badu II is suggesting that we should pay the assembly members? No sir, we disagree! The status quo, in our candid opinion, should remain.
We should not open the floodgates for every unemployed Ghanaian to start putting pressure on the central government for employment. That will certainly bring the national economy to its knees.