General News of Friday, 27 January 2017
Professor Akilakpa Sawyerr, Chairman of the Steering Committee of STAR-Ghana, a multi donor pooled organisation, has presented a report on the performance of Sixth Parliament of the fourth Republic in Accra.
The report was focused on three functions; Executive Oversight roles of Members of Parliament and Parliament; Representative function of Parliament; and the Legislative role of Parliament and MPs in the fourth Republic.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Nehemiah Attigah, Principal lead of Odekro, an Online Platform, said the report was to fill the information and knowledge gap with the necessary data to hold Parliament and MPs accountable.
Odekro, sponsored by STAR-Ghana to produce the report, which comprises datasets and hanzards are available digitally on www.odekro.org.
Mr Attigah said the Parliamentarians in the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic would be able to draw lessons from the findings of the report to improve their citizenry conferred mandate.
The report said only 52 MPs, representing 18.9 per cent, of the 275 MPs contributed amendments to the more than 81 bills that were approved by Parliament and 43.3 per cent of the bills passed by Parliament were tax bills, introduced to impose, revise or increase, taxes, customs duties and levies.
The Odekro Online Platform also provided performance scorecard of MPs, assigning a weight of 40 per cent to the attendance score and 60 per cent to the contribution score.
The report said 255 out of 275 MPs made at least one contribution to debates during their four-year tenure in office, while 73 MPs were absent without permission, which the report indicated was “a clear violation of article 97(1) (c) of the constitution.”
It said nearly all the top 10 performing MPs whose total score was above 80 per cent were in leadership position.
It also noted that MPs who are members of the leadership of Parliament got the opportunity to speak more often than others.
The report revealed that six out of 19 MPs, who did not make a single statement in four years in Parliament, retained their seats in Parliament.
Mr Lolan Sagoe-Moses, Content Manager of Odekro, noted that the silence of MPs could be attributed to the standing orders, which compel the Speaker to give precedence to the leadership of Parliament.
He recommended an amendment to the standing order Eight to liberalise the order of precedence in Parliament during debates.
He added that Parliament’s engagement and consultations with Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) were crucial and the 3.7 per cent of committee meetings involving CSOs in the last Parliament was not encouraging.
Mr Sagoe-Moses urged Parliament to organise regular consultations as part of the legislative process.
Odekro platform promotes transparency and popular participation by providing free public online access to Bills, Motions and Parliamentary debates.
The report was dedicated to the late Emmanuel Yaw Amofa Okyere Jnr, staff of Odekro.