Mr Kwesi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, Chairman of the Working Committee of the Assurances Committee has revealed that there is overwhelming support from groups and organisations for the proposed Parliamentary Assurances Committee.
According to him most of the groups that the committee met lauded the initiative, and that, the committee when set up, would be able to apply the rules to the fullest.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh made the statement at a stakeholder Consultative Meeting to collate inputs for Parliamentary reforms and proposed Assurances Committee at Parliament House.
The Parliament of Ghana has initiated a process that would see to the establishment of a Parliamentary Assurances Committee to track all assurances made by parliament during the course of their work.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, who supports the current initiative has been championing some reforms within the legislative arm of government to enhance its image and to keep it abreast with the times.
As part of these restructuring, it was proposed that parliament sets up a Parliamentary Assurances Committee, which would either be merged with the already existing Government Assurances Committee or be a stand-alone committee.
This Committee is expected to be a self-regulatory measure by the legislative body to ensure that all assurances made in the name of Parliament is accounted for and delivered as envisaged.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh also stated that the proposed Assurances Committee, once setup, would help monitor Bills that are passed by the House and those that were not approved and a report sent to the committee.
He said once it is agreed for the Committee to be set up, its findings and reports would have to be accepted by parliament and members held accountable.
Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Vice Chairman of the Working Committee expressed concern about what he termed as “excessive partisanship”, which he said, was destroying the country’s legislature, adding that, its about time both the majority and minority came together to pursue a common goal for the development of the nation.
He said the public perception about the country’s parliament is not good at all and that something drastic must be done to correct this negative view so that the confidence the people have in Members of Parliament (MPs) would not diminish.
He suggested that as part of the reforms to ensure punctuality among MPs in the House, members who absents themselves from parliament for three days without informing the Speaker should be sanctioned with ten per cent salary deduction.
He said this sanction if implemented would go a long way to curb absenteeism among members and ensure regular attendance for the House to carry out its business.
Mr Anthony Forson, President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), on his part, called for better conditions of service for MPs in the country.
He said MPs and other officials of state institutions should be given improved salaries to appropriately reflect the services they give to the nation.
He said the public must not be too quick to kick against improvement of conditions of lawmakers based on emotions.
He said the time has come where all the institutions of state ought to be looked at and proper remuneration and conditions of service given to them.
“Once we have recognised the fact that our parliament falls short of what other parliaments are doing in terms of output and what they get, we should start looking at our own resources and what parliament is receiving and improve it” he said.