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23.03.2007 General News

Strengths of parliamentary committees determine quality of laws


A governance expert on Thursday said without the specialized and focused deliberations among Members of Parliament at the committee level, the quality of laws and policies generated and approved by Parliament would be poor.

Mr Kojo Asante, Governance and Legal Policy Officer at the Center For Democratic Development (CDD), said it would be helpful to expose to the public some of the work of the committees by making their meetings open to the public.

"The Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament is one such hardworking committee whose work is of great importance in the performance of Parliament's legislative function though it executes its function unnoticed almost invisible and most times overwhelmed," he said at a forum in Accra organized by CDD as part of efforts to bring the work of some Parliamentary committee closer to the public.

Mr Asante said the Subsidiary Legislation Committee had the primary oversight responsibility for checking delegated and unregulated power held by individuals or bodies assigned to them by statutory or constitutional instrument.

He said there was the need for society to be consulted to provide input into laws that govern and imposes duties on them.

"There are several questions that require answers and advocacy; how do we open up the process of subsidiary legislation to more consultation and participation? At what stage should the consultation and participation take place," Mr Asante questioned.

Mr Francis Agbotse, Chairman of the Select Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, said executive, legislative and constitutional instruments were all subsidiary legislations.

He said it was a requirement to make regulations to govern the implementation of Acts passed by Parliament and the function of the committee was to ensure that regulations, laid before parliament as instruments were properly scrutinized by the committee to ensure that they conformed to the parent Act and the Constitution.

Source: GNA