Bolgatanga, Oct. 6, GNA - The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes announced on Wednesday that efforts were underway to establish Regional Parliamentary Resource Centres across the country, as part of Parliament's enhanced strategic plan. The centres would serve as points for collation and dissemination of information on the work of the House.
Mr Hughes was speaking at a Parliamentary outreach programme, jointly organised in Bolgatanga by Parliament and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung of Germany under the theme, "Bringing Parliament to the People".
It was attended by a cross-section of people from all parts of the Upper East Region, including Members of Parliament, District Chief Executives and their Co-ordinating Directors, Chiefs, Heads of Department, Assembly Members and representatives of various religious bodies.
Its purpose was to bring Parliament closer to the people of the Upper East and to allow for interactions between the people and the visiting parliamentary team led by the Speaker.
"It is the belief of Leadership, and I also strongly believe, that, such bridges are the surest way of informing the citizenry and thus, sustaining Parliamentary democracy in our country", Mr Hughes said. On the workings of parliament, he explained that it plays four traditional roles, namely legislative, investigative, representative and financial. On the financial role, he said Parliament has the responsibility of scrutinising and giving approval for government to spend money from the Consolidated and Contingency Funds. "Parliament under its representational role, also provides opportunity for the voices of the silent majority to be heard in the law and decision-making processes," he added.
The Speaker made it known that a total of 242 Bills had been passed into Acts of Parliament, since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1993. The various Parliaments had also passed a number of resolutions urging action on numerous pertinent national issues.
Citing the lack of offices for MPs as an example, Mr Hughes indicated that Parliament continued to face enormous constraints that occasionally hampered its work, and urged Ghanaians to support the effort of resourcing Parliament to enable it to effectively address the concerns of the citizenry.
Concerns raised by attendants during the open forum included the delay in providing citizens identity cards to Ghanaians, the rationale for setting up a sector, where the raw material is abundant, the lack of progress in ongoing works on the Bolgatanga-Wa main road and the delay in the administering of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients in the three Northern Regions.
Mr Felix Owusu Agyepong, Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker, Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader and MPs present assisted the Speaker in providing answers to questions posed by the people.
The Regional Minister also called for action on the payment of compensation to landowners in the region, whose lands were taken away for the development of public infrastructure, since independence without any payment, as that was one of the fundamental reasons for poverty among the indigenous people.
Mr C. K. Tedam, Member of the Council of State, chaired the function. Also present were Mr Francis Afoko, another Member of Council of State, and the Bolga-Naba, Martin Abilba III.