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13.07.2004 General News

Canada supports Ghana's Parliament with $3.24 million

By GNA

Elmina (C/R) July 13, GNA - The Canadian Government, through Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has given 3.24 million dollars in support of the Parliamentary Committee Support Project (PCSP) Phase II.

The Phase I of the Project was implemented between 1998 and 2002 to strengthen the capacity of Parliament.

Ms Vida Affum Duti, Development Officer CIDA, Ghana, who was addressing a three-day workshop on: ''Ghana Parliamentary Committee Support Project Phase II", said the plan was aimed at consolidating the success achieved under the First Phase.

It is under the theme: "Preparing Parliament for the Transition, Post Election".

Under the First Phase, the Finance and the Public Account Committees were supported. The Phase II would involve the expansion of the programme to include four key Committees related to poverty-reduction; poverty reduction; local government and gender and government assurances committees.

Representatives from the Committees of Public Account, Finance, Government Assurance, Local Government and Rural Development, Gender and Children and the Special Committee on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy are attending the workshop.

Ms Duti said CIDA's intention was to continue to build the capacity of the Parliamentary Committee to monitor poverty reduction plans; assure sustained participation of the people in decision-making and improve transparency and effectiveness of governance.

She said the Project fund had been increased in view of the successful implementation of Phase I, as well as a demonstration of the commitment of Canada to support Ghana to deepen its democracy and promote good governance.

Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, said the 2004 General Election would be accomplished if the stakeholders in democracy - the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, Political Parties, Media, Civil Society, Religious Bodies; Diplomatic and Donor-Community - played their roles dutifully and in good faith and sobriety.

He said the transfer of power from one party to the other, which could be referred to as the transition process, needed to be packaged smoothly to ensure continuity improvement in Ghana's democracy.

Mr Blay said Ghana's Parliament had played and continued to play a pivotal role in sustaining political tranquillity since its inception and that it was committed to ensuring successful elections and transition.

He expressed the hope that the Legislature would continue to forge and foster the democratic culture and to promote unity and good governance in the country.

Mr Blay said although Parliament had discharged its constitutional obligation creditably there was still more room for improvement and that it had a distance to go to win the absolute confidence of Ghanaians. He said Parliament was still grappling with a number of institutional problems, which included weak research capacity for members.

Mr Blay said considering its chequered history, an effective performance of Parliament called for the injection of adequate resources and provision of financial and technical assistance to enable the various select and standing committees to effectively discharge their duties.

He commended the Canadian Parliamentary Centre and Canadian Government for supporting Ghana's Parliament since 1997 and said this had gone a long way to improve the work of the legislature. Mr Blay said, notwithstanding, assistance from the Donor-Community the country should be able to adequately resource institutions responsible for promoting good governance.

"We as a people must seriously consider the arrangement that institutions such as Parliament, the Judiciary, the Electoral Commission, the Commission on human Rights and Administrative Justice, the National Commission for Civic Education and the National Media Commission would be made to access the national consolidated fund on a predetermined percentage basis in support of their annual budgetary estimates as was done in the case of the District Assemblies".

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