The staff of the Research Department of Parliament have commended the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) for the capacity building workshop to boost their knowledge in the sector.

The two-day workshop on a strategic approach to data information at Koforidua, the Eastern Region capital, was to assist the research staff to understand the information needs of parliament

Dr Abraham Ibn Zakaria, a Senior Staff member of the Research Department of Parliament told EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, the workshop was very timely since it has given them a deeper insight with regards to the information needs of MPs.

He said there have been challenges in terms of staff capacity because of the previously low staff strength and lack of additional training, capacity building, and limited resources.

Dr, Zakaria used the opportunity to appeal to the politicians not to be emotional and doubtful of the credibility of official data produced by the Ghana Statistical  Service, noting that, “no one can manipulate data, data speaks for itself.”


Some of the participants also shared their experience, indicating that the workshop was an eye-opener given that it granted them the opportunity to learn new things, acquire relevant knowledge and ideas, and thereby be assured of putting it to effective use.

Mr Frank Ijon and Ms Sika Osei who shared their respective experience with EXPRESSNEWSGHANA commended ACEPA for the opportunity and said it has been helpful to them especially with regards to bringing clarity to their roles and the specific needs of parliamentarians.

Respectively, the two participants conceded that, until the workshop, they did not know the difference between a policy memo, an ordinary memo, academic research, and parliamentary research.

They added that the workshop has therefore equipped them with the requisite research knowledge and skills to be innovative and go the extra mile to produce quality and credible information that will transcend political sentiment.

The participants were taken through topics including Essentials of Legislative Research, Communicating Research Findings, among others which were expected to help the staff to understand the information needs of MPs, the kind of information needed, what legislative research entails, and how to make such information relevant to members.

It was also to increase the knowledge of the staff of the Research Department on ways of overcoming organizational obstacles that affect the use of evidence in line with the objectives of the DAP.

Earlier, the Executive Director of ACEPA , Dr Rasheed Draman pointed out that research is useful for enabling MPs to form well-grounded views on national issues, as well as supporting their arguments with scientific evidence.

He explained that research has proven to be a compelling component of parliamentary work globally, given that it provides credibility and improves parliamentary discourse; emphasizing that, “it boosts parliamentarians in their debates.”

“MPs need the information to support effective scrutiny and to inform policy, in other words, MPs need research data to hold the government accountable, as well as guide their work at the select committees level,” Dr Draman added.

For him, even though some parliamentarians are professionals and have areas of expertise, they are not outright knowledgeable in every aspect of society.

In most cases, Dr Draman  said, the  national budgets or some laws are passed on wrongful assumptions or poor information and data, which in his view become irrelevant after approval  or passage…“this, therefore, makes the research department of our parliament important because it plays a critical role in our parliamentary legislation, and if we want quality  and more critical policy scrutiny in our democratic governance, the research department needs to be equipped with not only logistics but also with the needed capacity, knowledge and skills for which this workshop is very important.

Ghana, he said, is doing well in terms of parliamentary democracy but expressed concern that excessive partisanship on some decisions is clouding the gains made in the past 25 years.

He however expressed the hope that the current composition of parliament with 137 MPs on either side of the House will allow parliament to assert its independence and free itself from the control and dominance of the executive arm of government.

Many experts contend that research services play a crucial role in the daily operations of modern democratic legislatures as it improves legislative decision-making and strengthen democracy.

 In a parliamentary democracy, reliable facts and analysis through research contribute to a better understanding of problems and provide more realistic and effective legislative solutions to those problems.

Relatively, good research enhances the legitimacy of the legislature as it provides MPs with information to draft and amend laws based on accurate and reliable facts.


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