Accra Metropolitan Assembly spends GH¢1.4 million on sitting allowances

Dr. Vanderpuije - Accra Mayor
Dr. Vanderpuije – Accra Mayor

Committee meetings and general assembly sittings of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) held in 2012 alone cost the assembly GH¢1.4 million (14 billion old cedis).

The amount covered allowances for transportation (T&T), sitting and lunch and was more than total revenue generated at the AMA lorry parks, which was GH¢1.3 million, and market tolls of GH¢888,000.

This was contained in the Financial Statement of the AMA, signed by the Coordinating Director and the Director of Finance of the assembly.

But when contacted, the Director of Finance declined to comment on the issue.

A top official of the assembly, however, indicated that the expenditure was likely to increase this year, as eight general assembly meetings had already been held three months into the year.

The AMA is expected to hold a general assembly meeting once a month if there is no emergency.

The assembly has 14 sub-committees on various sectors such as the environment, education, health, justice and security and disaster.

The others are on revenue mobilisation, culture, trade and industry and social services.

The rest are works, youth and sports, women and children, development planning, finance and administration.

Each assembly member belongs to at least three sub-committees.

According to the top official, each assembly member takes GH¢120, in addition to a GH¢15 lunch, during general assembly meetings.

In the case of sub-committees, each member takes GH¢100, in addition to a GH¢15 lunch.

The AMA’s Public Relations Committee (PRC), chaired by Mr Addo Biney, takes GH¢120, in addition to lunch.

The official said members took GH¢35 T&T allowance for being part of field trips and even for attending funerals on behalf of the assembly.

“Because of these allowances, meetings are called without any reason and this is draining the coffers of the assembly. The AMA is sitting on a time bomb if this development is allowed to go on,” the official stated.

“I suggest that the government pays the 116 members of the assembly because the current trend is not bringing value to their positions. This development can stall the progress of the AMA,” the  source added.

Even more worrying, according to him, was the fact that some members wrote the names of absentee friends and signed for them to collect their allowances.

He further stated that “the amount of money expended on these allowances could have been used to build two of the millennium schools, a project which was embarked on by the assembly to end the shift system in the capital”.

Reacting to the report, the Presiding Member of the AMA, Mr Desmond Addo Biney, explained that the amount could be true, as members were sometimes paid double allowances for being called for emergency meetings.

Source: Daily Graphic

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