Parliament To Partner Experts To Review Procedures

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Bagbin, has announced the House’s intention to create a platform to partner academia, legal and governance experts to lead detailed discussions on reviewing its composition and procedures.

He said recent Supreme Court decisions and directives among other court cases have affected the way members conduct business in the House.

“We may disagree with decisions but we are bound by those decisions and have to comply and obey. We have been called upon by those decisions to take action in reviewing the composition and procedures of the House. The earlier we do that the better for all of us and the country,” he said.

Speaker Bagbin made the statement in a formal communication to members at the beginning of the Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament in Accra.

The House resumed sitting on Tuesday after a six-week break.

Speaker Bagbin explained that the deliberations by the experts would focus on the implications and effects of the court decisions on the practice and procedures of Parliament and the relationship between the Judiciary and the Legislature.

That would provide valuable input to enable Parliament to revise and refine its rules, laws and Standing Orders to comply with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution.

Speaker Bagbin said Parliament would also dedicate more attention to its oversight function, put in the legal processes to consolidate its strength, and empower members to perform their duties and responsibilities effectively.

“In this second session, we will take further vigorous steps to strengthen the hand of the House to hold government and state institutions accountable to the people for the power, trust, resources and hope reposed in them.”

“The executive President, assisted by the Cabinet and state institutions, shall be called upon to account for their stewardship of the country”.

The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said Parliament must set a rule-of-thumb on borrowing and at no time should it allow any government to borrow beyond 70 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said allowing governments with four to eight years mandate to borrow beyond 80 percent of GDP could spell doom for the nation.

“Therefore, we must make a decision, and this House should be able to do that…we must cap how much any government should be able to borrow not exceeding 70 per pent of GDP per best practice,” he said.

Mr Iddrisu called for public inquiry into the declassification of certain portions of the Achimota Forest Reserve by the Government, saying it must be treated as an urgent matter of concern.

He said the public must be made to know the processes regarding the release of the said lands to the allodial owners.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, called for a second look at Article 286 of the Constitution, which relates to assets declaration by public officeholders.

Public office holders like Members of the Council of State, officials of EOCO, the Special Prosecutor, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives,  among others do not declare their assets, which did not help the fight against corruption, he said.