Committee Systems indispensable to modern legislature – MOPA

The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MOPA) has held an assessment and interactive dialogue with the Expanded Leadership of the 7th Parliament of the 4th Republic.

This comes to view undertaking a diagnostic analysis of the committee system of Parliament and identifying innovative ways of enhancing their capacity to deliver on their core mandate and subsequently to contribute to the development of Ghana’s Parliament.

The forum was held under the theme: the Committee System in Ghana’s Parliament: An Assessment.

“The need for efficiency in the execution of legislative and other related functions, on which modern legislatures are confronted with, makes the utility of the committee system indispensable to modern legislatures”.

“It is argued that all complex organization operate through delegation of authority: Committees are therefore put in place to digest bills introduced into Parliament by the executive and the individual members of Parliament”.

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Majority Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame Hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu speaking at the diagloue said decision- making in Parliament of Ghana is normally the interaction between Committees, political parties , interest groups and the parent chamber; the committee system is therefore very significant to the smooth functioning of Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

“One can infer plausibly that decision-making in Ghana’s Parliament is shaped by the interactions between political parties, committees and the parent House, civil society organization and other state and non- state actors”.

“It is in Committee rooms where the contents of public policies are shaped, various civil society organization in the country heard, and finally legislation fashioned out”.

“Parliament subsequently sits to sanction the conclusion of it’s committees”.

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Dr. Evans Aggrey-Darkoh delivering his welcome address said the existence of the committee system allows Parliament to increases the amount of the work done by Parliament Committees which also ensure that issues can be debated in more depth than can be done in pleanry sessions.

He said both the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament recognise the crucial role of Committees in the work of Parliament: the framers of the 1992 Constitution envisaged the effect of an efficient committee system on the work of Parliament.

“The participation of Parliamentarians in discussing issues more fully is also enhanced because Committees are normally much smaller than plenaries. “The existence of Committees also enables Parliamentarians to develop expertise in the Committees’ areas of work”.

“Furthermore, Committees provide a forum for the public to present its views directly to members of Parliament. Finally, documents which are relevant to the work of specific Committees work”.

“The Ministry engagement with the Chairs and Ranking members of all the 31 committee aims at “Deepening Democratic Governance” in line with its 2020 Strategic Policy Objectives and Priority areas for concentration”.

“One of the core mandates of the Ministry is to enable an effective interface between the Executive and the Legislature”.

“In overseeing the Executive,  Parliament is equipped with some notable tools which are: Question Time; Motion; Statements in Parliament Petitions: Media and CSOs Partnerships: and oversight through Committees among others”.

“The dialogue sought to achieve the following objectives of the interaction as to: examine institutional framework and it’s effect on the committees of Parliament: discuss the nature of the relationship between the committees and the Parent House: and to evaluate the performance of the Committees of Parliament”.

“Others are: to identify and discuss the institutional and operational challenges of the committee of Parliament: interrogate the relationship between political parties and their Parliamentarians on various committees: offer recommendations to rejuvenate the performance of committees of Parliament.

Source: Delali Gavor/ Parliament

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