Accra Metro spends GH¢500,000 on sitting allowances

Dr. Vanderpuije - Accra Mayor

More than GH¢500,000 was said to have been spent by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) on sitting allowances, transportation and refreshment at general assembly and committee meetings for last year.

The amount is more than what the assembly realised as revenue from its market tolls for the year, which amounted to GH¢436,809.

This has caused disaffection among some workers within the assembly and resulted in an intervention from Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, the Metropolitan Chief Executive.

Alarmed by the development, the AMA Chief Executive set up a committee to go into the matter, following an audit report he received in the third quarter of 2009, but recommendations made by the committee have been disregarded by the assembly members who continued having the meetings.

Key among the recommendations was a limit to the number of assembly meetings, as the audit report detected an astronomical increase in allowances paid to the assembly members.

With supporting documents, a highly placed source at the assembly told the Daily Graphic that the assembly expended GH¢113,505 as sitting allowance and transportation on general assembly, sub and ad hoc committee meetings between January and July, 2009.

“This rose to GH¢320,815 between August and November, 2009, an increase of 64.62 per cent. In December, 2009 alone, expenditure on allowances and transportation for assembly members was GH¢121,684,” he said.

According to the official, ad hoc committees which met virtually on a daily basis were being formed to deal with issues that could easily be resolved at assembly meetings, while some assembly members had formed cliques that signed attendance sheets on behalf of absentee members.

“This creates a situation where attendance sheets presented for payment often have the entire membership of committees being present at meetings only on paper.

The Public Relations and Complaints subcommittee has a membership of 35 and all of them are always present at meetings every month”, the official said.

“These huge uncontrolled re-current expenses affect the cash flow management of the assembly,” the official stated.

He said between January and June, this year, the assembly expended a total of GH¢348,331.00 on general assembly, subcommittee and ad hoc committee meetings and the provision of refreshment for those meetings.

According to the official, last month alone, the AMA expended GH¢75,000 for payment to some members for various meetings held the previous month as sitting allowances and transportation.

Currently, some assembly members take home at least GH¢1,120 as sitting and transportation allowances a month for only committee meetings.

He said if not checked, the prevailing situation would impact negatively on the assembly’s ability to develop the city, which was now reeling under poor sanitation conditions, inadequate school infrastructure and poor roads, among other developmental challenges.

Huge allowances paid to assembly members has also become an issue of grave concern to AMA’s administrators some of whom alleged that monthly allowances being received by assembly members now exceeded their own salaries.

There are 90 assembly members at the AMA, 60 elected and 30 government appointees.

Each one receives GH¢70 at each subcommittee and ad hoc committee meeting while at the general assembly meetings, they receive GH¢80, GH¢55.00 as sitting allowance and GH¢25 as transportation.

Currently, the assembly has 13 subcommittees. These are Food and Agriculture, Finance and Administration, Social Services, Revenue Mobilisation, Security and Justice and Works Committee.

The others are Development Planners, Disaster, Education, Women and Children, Public Relations and Complaints, Health and Environmental committees.

Source: Daily Graphic

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