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MPs asked to place national interest above partisanship interest

By
Christopher Arko, GNA

Accra, Aug.5 GNA – Professor Aaron Michael
Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, has called on Members of Parliament (MP) to
place national interest above every other considerations.

According to him, Ghanaians expect qualitative
performance in terms of debate and legislation from the House and not parochial
partisanship.

Prof Oquaye made the call at the closing of
the Second Meeting of the First Section of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth
Republic.

The second meeting which had duration of 10
weeks and 39-sittings, considered a number of bills whilst were adopted.

Some of the bills approved during the period
include the Customs Amendment Bill, Formula for the GETFund, NHIS Fund and the
District Assemblies Common Fund.

Prof Oquaye also stated that the dignity of
Parliament had become a matter of concern to the country.

He said many members in the House had made
statements which did not give credit to Parliament.

He said though people had the right of say
there was proper way of doing it.

“That is, how you say it, should be part of
the parliamentary etiquette,” he said.

Prof Oquaye also noted that members who have
concerns should follow laid down rules for the resolution of cases in the
House.

He announced that the review of the Standing
Orders of the House was almost complete and would be incorporated in the Code
of conduct for MPs.

He said the completion of the Standing Orders
could help Parliament to improve upon its activities.  

Prof Oquaye also announced that the
Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) had approved the establishment of a legal
department for the House.

He said the department was to assist members
in the processing of the Private Members Bill, which the Speaker intended to
introduce to the House.

He said the PSB had also setup a committee to
investigate the recent fire outbreak, and make recommendation for future
prevention.

Prof Oquaye also indicated that the board had
approved the establishment of Parliamentary Assurance Unit.

He explained the department was to deal with
all matters, which required a follow up attention on all issues raised on the
floor of Parliament.

He said such issues would be tracked and
ensured they were acted upon.

He said the adoption and implementation of
such measures would continue to enhance the work of the House.

Prof Oquaye announced that the board had
approved the establishment of the Parliamentary Support Report Office to focus
on institutional reforms to improve performance.

He said the reforms were intended to encourage
more citizens to participate in the parliamentary process to ensure
effectiveness in the procedures.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader
commended the Speaker, leadership and members for their commitment to work.

He also noted that though the Minority had
right to have their say it must be situated within the confines of the Standing
Orders and the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also stated that the
Speaker who is the umpire, who must ensure order and decorum, must try to
strike accommodation and tolerance.

He said rights were never absolute and
unfettered, adding that though the opposition was needed to keep government on
its toes, they must always act responsibly.

“We must all learn to play by the rules of the
House otherwise heat may dominate cool heads, and this will not be good for the
country.”

He urged members to use the recess to do
introspection, reflect and returned more soberly to serve the country.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader on his
part insisted that the Minority cannot be stifled from having it say in
Parliament.

He said the Minority would continue to play it
oversight role over the activities of the Executive.

He said urged government to take the concerns
raise about the threat and insecurity in the country serious.

Mr Iddrisu also called on the Minister of
Interior to monitor the situation and device ways to counter such hazards.

He gave the assurance that the Minority would
support the government to maintain peace and stability in the country.

He welcomed the review of the Standing Orders
which he said would go a long way to enhance the work of Parliament.

GNA

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