9 January 2013

Ghana: Parliament to Constitute Various Committees

Parliament yesterday began its journey to serious business on a good note by adjourning sitting to constitute the various sub committees that would propel it for the next four years.

The House, after taking part in the inauguration of President John Dramani Mahama, resumed sitting by first correcting the Votes of Proceedings of the first sitting of the first meeting.

The motion for adjournment to enable the House constitute the various committees was moved by the Majority Leader, Dr. Benjamin Kumbour. It was seconded by his colleague Minority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

The House has always worked with the various committees to fast-track the government's business and other matters.

The committees are ideal platforms for public participation in the legislative process and public policy formulation.

The Chamber of Parliament does not provide a forum for public participation in debates. It is the committees that offer formal and less intimidating atmosphere for public participation in policy-making and the legislative process.

Per the dictates of the Constitution, every legislative proposal (a bill), after its first reading, must be referred to a committee which in turn invites public participation in the legislative process.

A committee to which a bill has been referred to examine in details said the bill and report to the House before the second reading and other stages of the bill could be taken. They make inquiries and investigate matters that are complex and complicated outside the Chamber.

At the committee level, both the elected and electorates (public) could meet to discuss policies and legislative proposals. It is at this stage that ideas and information are shared about that specific legislative proposal (bill).

The various committees in Parliament are Lands and Forestry; Health; Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary; Works and Housing; Local Government and Rural Development; Foreign Affairs; Employment, Social Welfare and State. Others include Communications; Defence and the Interior; Trade, Industry and Tourism; Environment, Science and Technology; Education Youth, Sports and Culture; Mines and Energy; and Roads and Transport.

Adhoc Committees may be appointed to deal with an unexpected matter that requires investigation and decision.

In another development, some of the newly elected MPs from both sides who spoke to The Chronicle shared their first day experiences in the House.

The NDC Member of Parliament for Pusiga, Hajia Laadi Ayii described her first day in the House as a special experience and said what she witnessed during the inaugural ceremony of the president was different from the Parliament she had been seeing from the outside. "Both the ruling MPs and the opposition are all one here", she noted.

She described the House as a best institution for learning and promised to back anything that would help improve the lives of Ghanaians. "I believe when we see ourselves as MPs for Ghana and not for our individual party, we will help the people of this country better", she added.

The NDC MP for Salaga South, Alhaji Alhassan Mumuni, who had been an Assemblyman for sixteen years said as MPs they have the responsibility to serve their constituents and mother Ghana.

He added that he would like to see that most of their policies are brought to light and implemented. "I promise to use my experience as a former assemblyman and a former District Chief Executive to contribute to the work of this House," he intoned.

The NPP MP for Kumawu, Hon. Philip Basoah said the development of his people and the country in general was his sole aim for entering the August House.

"We have to make sure the development that our people deserve is given them. I will bring my experience as an educationist and a former DCE. I will enrich the work of Parliament, especially in terms of education," he disclosed.

The NPP MP for Tolon, Wahab Wumbei, who was also a former Assemblyman promised to partner with members of the House to serve the people of Ghana better.

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