The General Manager in charge of Newspapers of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Yaw' Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has stressed the need to enhance and expand the involvement of the youth in the parliamentary process through mock parliamentary sessions.
He says it is imperative for youth parliaments to take a critical look at Article 108, which inhibits Parliament in a way in the exercise of its powers.
Speaking at a function on “Youth Parliament in Ghana's Democracy” in Accra yesterday, Mr BoaduAyeboafon said Article I08 prohibited Parliament from proceeding on any bill which had financial implications for the state.
Buttressing his point, he quoted Article 108 which provides that "Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or the motion is introduced by or on behalf of the President proceed upon a ,bill including an amendment to a bill, that in the opinion of the person presiding, makes provision for the imposition of taxation or the alteration of taxation otherwise than by reduction; or the imposition of a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana or the alteration of any such charge otherwise than by reduction.”
Others include the payment, issue or otherwise from the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of.
Ghana of any sum of money not charged on the Consolidated Fund or any increase in the amount of that payment, issue or withdrawal or the composition or remission of any debt due to the government of Ghana or proceed upon a motion, including an amendment to a motion, the effect of which, in the opinion of the person presiding, would be to make provision for any of the purposes specified in paragraph (a) of this article.
For Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, the effect of these was that it was near impossible for our Parliament to proceed with a private member's bill or increase the allocation to any department which it saw as critical.
"We need to deepen understanding and appreciation of the issues through youth parliaments so that our people would come to a better and functional view about the role of Parliament in our democracy," he said.
He said at the heart of the 1992 Constitution was the affirmation that the sovereignty of this country resided in the people and quoted Article 1 (1) which States that "the Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution."
"Inasfar as the people are at the centre of our representative government, then Parliament must take the prjde of place in developing; strengthening and consolidating the institutions of governance, democracy and constitutionalism," he stated.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh added that one of the legacies of military dictatorship and interventionism was the marginalisation of Parliament, to the extent that the average Ghanaian was not bothered on how much the state spent in maintaining the processes and personnel of the Executive and Judiciary branches of government; but would oppose the granting of loans to MPs.
"The point is, we are prepared and ready to provide for the comfort of the President, Ministers, Judges and Civil Servants, but reluctant to contribute towards the welfare of the MP. That is so because over the years we have seen governments made up of the Executive and Judiciary perform under military regimes without a legislature", he said, adding that "our views have never counted towards the law-making processes."