The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), has launched a revised Model Standing Orders (MSOs) for Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.
The new MSOs which seeks to strengthen accountability and transparency in decision making repeals the MSOs issued in 1994 under the Local Government Act 1993, (Act 462).
Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama who launched the revised MSOs at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) City Hall on Tuesday said the decision to revise the existing MSOs was necessitated by the passage of the Local Governance Act 2016, (Act 936).
She said the new MSOs hopes to facilitate the work of secretaries (Metropolitan, Municipal and District Coordinating Directors) and presiding members in the various MMDAs.
"Just as Parliament has standing orders, District Assemblies too, we need to have standing orders. The standing orders that is operational now was issued in 1994 under the Local Government Act 462. We have since 2016 had a new Local Governance Act 2016, (Act 936), so from 1994 up to now, there is the need to revise the standing orders.
Today's launch of the Model Standing Orders will facilitate the work of secretaries of the district assemblies, and also our presiding members, “she said.
She noted that the new MSOs was developed in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders in the local government sector.
The minister disclosed that some distinctive features of the revised MSOs includes a provision to facilitate the election of a Presiding Member (PM) in the circumstances where the Assembly is not able to elect a PM at its inaugural meeting, as well as a provision that allows the PM to exercise discretion at meetings by allowing him or her to introduce items of business which does not appear in the agenda.
The new MSOs also allows the Assembly to nominate someone to act as a PM in the absence of the substantive and also spells out how questions can be answered and how already answered questions should be dealt with during meetings.
The Chairman of the occasion, Professor Samuel Nunoo Wood in his remarks affirmed that the standing orders are rooted in the constitution to enhance good governance and sound management.
He also urged the ministry to translate the MSOs into local languages to enable assembly members who do not understand the English language to make meaning of assembly's proceeding and meetings.
Present at the launch were the Head of Local Government Service, Ing. Nana Ato Arthur, Deputy Minister for Local Government, Osei Bonsu Amoah, Mayor of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Chief Executive Officer of the Coastal Development Authority(CODA), Jerry Shaib and other Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives.