Speaker Alban Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, says the legislative arm of government has not fared well in the area of oversight and Private Member’s legislation.
According to him, even though the performance and effectiveness of Parliament continue to be rated high internationally, its rating in the area of oversight is “unsurprisingly low.”
Speaking at the inauguration of the Parliamentary Service Board in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Bagbin said “it is not surprising because Parliament and its Committees lack the needed support and assistance to perform their oversight functions.”
“I had a cause in March this year to call out the Ministry of Finance and the Secretary to the President for attempting to unilaterally place a ceiling on the budget appropriation for Parliament and the Judiciary.
“I must admit this unfortunate development has been the practice of almost all the governments since the beginning of the Fourth Republic,” the Speaker stated.
Mr. Bagbin however, said there had been some modest improvement in the appropriation for Parliament by successive governments, stressing that the improvement was still far inadequate to meet the optimal requirements of the House.
In the area of Private Member’s bills, he admitted that Parliament had not helped itself because of the inadequate interpretation given to Article 108 of the Constitution by previous Speakers.
He added that “even if the Speakers at the time were to give Article 108 of the Constitution a more liberal and purposeful interpretation, we did not have the technical personnel, the Legislative Draft persons within the Service to assist Members convert their thoughts into a legislative framework in the form of a Bill.”
The Parliamentary Service, which is provided for under Article 124 of the 1992 Constitution as part of the Public Service of Ghana, is made up of six members in the persons of the Speaker, Alban Bagbin; Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah; Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu; Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu; Abraham Osei Aidoo (former NPP MP for Tema West) and NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
They were appointed on Monday, March 29, 2021 to the Parliamentary Service Board by the Speaker, acting on the advice of the Advisory Committee of Parliament.
The members of the board will be assisted by the First and Second Deputy Speakers of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Wusu and Andrew Asiamah Amoako, and the Former Director of Drafting of the Attorney General’s Department, Ms. Estelle Appiah.
Section 3 of the Parliamentary Service Act, 1993 (Act 460) established the Parliamentary Service to provide support services to Parliament and its committees or agencies of Parliament for the purposes of ensuring the full and effective exercise of the powers of Parliament.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House