November 7, 2013

It’s been seven months since the Parliamentary committee on Government Assurances was inaugurated without anything visible sign in sight but chairman of the committee, Emmanuel Bedzrah says the committee had been working behind the scenes and engaging civil society organizations.

Speaking to Joy News on Thursday, the chairman of the committee noted that the committee has decided to put their framework together and to identify what constitutes an assurance.

According to him, the committee had engaged the services of a consultant to come out with words that represent an assurance, adding that by Friday, November 8, the committee will be receiving a draft report after which stakeholders, including, civil society organizations will be requested to validate the report.

“We have engage a consultant, who is working on that to come out with words that we can use on as an assurance”, he noted.

Mr. Bedzrah further indicated that the committee, as part of their preparation, will be engaging the media personnel and civil society organizations, who will be looking at the report and also agree after which the report will sent to Parliament for acceptance.

“If parliament accepts the report, then we can invite ministers and then tell them that this is the framework within which the committee is working”, the chairman asserted.

This, he indicated, will hold the ministers responsible and accountable to whatever answers they give when they appear before the assurance committee.

“We are working around the clock and leadership of parliament is putting pressure on us but members of the committee have resolved that they will not want to do things anyhow”, the chairman insisted.

The expectation is that the committee will be tracking down government assurances made to the public and to query ministers on the fulfillment of promises they had made to Ghanaians.

The committee, at its launch in April this year, declared it would convene public hearings in October to hold ministers of state accountable for their pledges.

Committee members said they had decided to live up to their mandate and to make sure that Parliament plays its oversight role effectively to ensure ministers live up to expectation.

Meanwhile, Joy FM’s Parliamentary reporter, Elton John Brobbey reported that the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam Eduagyiri, Frank Annor Dompreh is pushing for the adoption of a national bill for the aged.

The MP noted that there had not been a policy focus to this vulnerable group in our society and thinks policies available did enhance the economic wellbeing of the aged.

Mr. Bedzrah therefore argued that the high priority given to pension reforms in Ghana had deflected attention away from the economic realities of the aged in our society and therefore requested the house to consider the National Bill for the Aged to make sure that there was an overall reintegration of the older people into the mainstream society to ensure a smooth transition of the youthful working population into the aging bracket.

Subsequently, the MPs overwhelmingly adopted the suggestion hoping that next week the bill will be forwarded to the house.