The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin, has called on Members of Parliament to remain united despite the political divides to move the nation forward.
The Speaker made the call when the House officially commenced the first meeting of the fourth session of the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
In his welcome remarks, Rt Hon Bagbin expressed hope that the recess period had revitalized them both physically and mentally for the tasks ahead and emphasized the importance of MPs engaging with their constituents and gaining a deeper understanding of the issues affecting them.
Reflecting on the journey of the 8th Parliament, the Speaker stressed its role in strengthening Ghana’s democratic values and its commitment to the electorate.
“This House’s composition has transformed how business is conducted within these hallowed walls and has necessitated a consensus-driven approach to dialogue and cooperation across party lines,” he stated, praising the willingness of members to seek common ground for the nation’s welfare.
Mr Bagbin took the opportunity to celebrate the success of Chef Failatu Abdul-Razak’s Cookathon, which showcased Ghanaian cuisine and culture, while expressing disappointment at the Black Stars’ performance at the AFCON tournament.
He stressed the need for a comprehensive strategy to improve Ghana’s football, emphasizing that “sacking coaches is not the panacea to the challenges.”
Commenting on the loss of experienced MPs through the primaries of the NPP and NDC, Speaker Alban Bagbin remarked on the significance of experience in Parliament and the concerning signal such losses send for Ghana’s democratic development.
“The hemorrhage and costs to the nation are a matter of great concern worth considering by all stakeholders,” he stated.
The Speaker announced the completion of the revision of the Standing Orders of Parliament, a process spanning over two decades, and informed members about upcoming orientation sessions for a seamless implementation of the new orders.
He underscored the critical bills pending before the House, including the Affirmative Action Bill and the Bill on Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values, urging their swift passage.
Speaker Bagbin called on members to redouble their efforts to tackle the extensive agenda set for the session with 702 referrals of government business at various committee levels, 16 bills, and several petitions under consideration.
He also introduced new business items, including the Aged Persons Bill 2023, the Competition Bill 2023, and others.
Mr. Alban Bagbin called for unity and civility in deliberations, emphasizing the importance of a peaceful, free, fair, and credible election year, and stressed, “Let us remain dedicated to the development and prosperity of Ghana.”