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19.01.2006 General News

Parliament should be people-friendly -Speaker


Accra, Jan 19, GNA - Mr. Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, Speaker of Parliament, on Thursday said Parliament as an institution needed to be closer to the ordinary Ghanaian to advance the cause of democracy. "This would, in a large measure, create awareness and obviate any lingering doubt that Parliament is a remote and exclusive domain only for Parliamentarians."

Mr. Sekyi Hughes was addressing a national public forum held in Accra as part of the Parliamentary week celebrations. The Parliamentary week celebration, instituted at the inception of the Fourth Republic, has provided the lawmakers and the public a platform to interact on issues of mutual concern.

The Speaker announced plans for the establishment of Parliamentary Resource Centres in all the ten regional capitals to serve as points for collation and dissemination of information on the work of the House. He said in the first session of the Fourth Parliament that is last year, Parliament debated and passed 20 bills.

These included the National Reconstruction Levy (Amendment), Minerals and Mining and Human Trafficking Bills.

He said currently, there were 11 bills at the committee level, which includes the Whistle Blower Bill, National Identification Authority Bill and Food and Drugs (Amendment) Bill.

The Speaker said throughout the last session 95 statements were made, adding that these statements range from gender sensitisation to highlighting problems encountered by Muslim Pilgrims. According Mr Sekyi Hughes, 180 questions were asked by Members of Parliament.

He said Parliament primarily enacted laws for the administration of the country.

It also has deliberative functions, which involves the scrutiny and criticism of actions and inactions of various authorities involve in the administration of the country.

Mr Sekyi Hughes said Parliament has regulatory role, which gives it the power under the Constitution to make laws to regulate the establishment and functioning of wide range of institutions. The Speaker described himself as the First Officer and an obedient servant of the House.

"Though I wield authority to regulate proceedings of the House, I have neither eyes to see nor ears to hear. I only act to protect and preserve the dignity of the House."