December 20, 2022

The Parliament of Ghana looks forward to serving better and being more relevant to the people of Ghana as it seeks to institute innovations to be more open and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin adding his voice to a statement made by the Member of Parliament for Ho West, Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzra on Ghana being adjudged the best on open parliament in West Africa said Ghana’s parliament has committed itself to it and there is a plan of action that is being touted, adding that those countries seeking to unseat Ghana from its first position are actually learning from Ghana’s plan of action. “What they don’t know is that we have gone beyond our plan of action and we are going to next year implement so many initiatives”.

He thus urged the Members to cooperate with the leadership and parliament service board, the clerk and management of parliament so that they will be able to implement the initiatives.

He expressed relief that the President Nana Akufo-Addo has recommended what parliament has proposed, and the budget submitted for next year has been greatly supported by the president. He said they have made proposals for enough funding to ensure detail implementation of most of the initiatives started this year.

“We are not going to be complacent at all; we will not allow any parliament to overrun us; that will not happen. And so luckily next year, the proposal to get real true offices for members of parliament will come on board and we will start the construction lf offices, real offices; not party offices, public state offices for members of parliament where as representatives of all the people in your constituencies, they can reach out to you, not just only party members, and that will not be to the inconveniences of your family members”. This move, he said forms part of the open parliament initiatives.

Additionally, the new standing orders will open up all parliamentary committees to the media, “and so parliament as you know, we transact our business in open, that is why we have public gallery; you don’t have public gallery at cabinet meetings, you don’t. And so it is not only when we are in plenary session, when we are at the committee level, we should be open to the public and we will be opening a lot, not just to the media but the public in general”.

The Speaker disclosed that in light of this, they are trying to get into agreement with Ghana Television in the meantime, while they roll out their own television network so that they can broadcast live proceeding of the House.

He said because parliament has a lot to do next year, they have got the Parliamentary Service Board to approve a new organogram for parliament, so that there would not be only Public Affairs Department, “we also going to have Public Engagement Department, as well as Media Relations Department. All these will work together and encourage us, which we are going to do to establish a Citizens Bureau, so that the citizens can have access to parliament.

He said they are also working hard to establish the Budget and Physical Analysis Office which would be rolled out next year “when we pass the Budget Act. The Budget Act which is on board would be passed latest by next year and then we would have the opportunity to get all these things in place.

He assured that there would be a lot of investment in Information Technology (IT) and this would be a serious change and there would be a paperless parliament and urged the MPs to upgrade their phones to be able to conform with the new trend.

He said, it would not only be about work, “we are also going to empower the House, the institutions and members to be able to measure up to the expectations of their constituents”.

He advised the Members to increase their resolves of bringing in Private Members Bills to assist the House in their advocacy for their constituents to know who an MP is, the duties and responsibilities, and what parliament is and how parliament works.