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Committee Capacity Building

The House and its Committees can choose to defeat a government bill or motion and influence government policy. But the Committees cannot expect to do a thorough job of matters referred to them unless we strengthen their capacity. Several of the constraints faced by Parliaments of the three republics are still with us. Lack of space, funding and well trained support staff are some of the problems that must be given priority attention.

An effective Committee structure must be well equipped with facilities and services for its operations. Efficient sup¬port staff and funds to hire persons with expertise outside the House must be available to the Committees. Because legislative business has grown in volume and become complex the Chairpersons and Members need a certain amount of specialized knowledge to carry out their functions.

They must have the tools to do their work which include information services, that is a well equipped Parliamentary Library with research and reference facilities. Without access to well processed information, members cannot make well-informed contributions to debate. Uninformed debates are not helpful but ill-informed contributions to debate on complex issues are more dangerous.

To avoid this, the Chairpersons and Members need to upgrade their skills through seminars and workshops, and study visits to other Parliaments. Ideally, the Chairpersons and Members must be provided with office accommodation.


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