The Clerk to Parliament, Mr. Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, has said the revised standing orders of parliament is part of efforts to expand and improve parliamentary oversight of activities of public officials.

According to him, the contemporary challenges including demands for higher levels of transparency in the democratic process; inadequacy of manual work procedures in the effective discharge of the mandate of the Legislature; and the Covid-19 pandemic revealed some gaps in the Orders of House.

This, he noted, underscored the need for a more improved and innovative techniques and strategies in order to deliver on the mandate of fulfilling Parliamentary democracy.

In remarks at the orientation workshop for members of the parliamentary press corps in Ada, Accra during the weekend, Mr. Nsiah said the complexity of the Eighth Parliament, which is the first of its kind since the inception of the Fourth Republic, presents a number of novel situations and challenges that were not within the contemplation of the drafters of previous Orders of the House.

“Under our current Standing Orders, the number of parliamentary Committees has increased from thirty-one (31) to forty-four (44) to emphasize the new focus and direction of the House,

“As partners in the advancement of parliamentary democracy, the critical role of the media in the reportage of parliamentary proceedings, as well as facilitating the scrutiny of activities of the representatives of the people, cannot be overemphasized. Indeed, the work of Parliament in our governance architecture could only be well understood and appreciated by the citizenry through the dissemination of relevant information pertaining to the mandate, procedures and the conduct of business of the House.

“This orientation programme, therefore, affords members of the parliamentary press corps the opportunity to familiarise yourselves with the contents of the revised Standing Orders, to enable you report accurately, not only on the proceedings and other activities of Parliament, but also the intricate practices and procedures that underpin certain decisions, motions and resolutions of the House,” Mr. Nsiah added.

The orientation workshop’s main goal was to acquaint the Parliamentary Press with the nuances of the new Orders, following a similar orientation provided to all 275 members of the House.

The comprehensive revision of the Standing Orders, the first in nearly a quarter-century since the inception of the Fourth Republic, reflects a commitment to evolving parliamentary democracy.

The new Orders incorporate several innovative practices, such as the recital of the National Pledge, conducting parliamentary business through virtual platforms, and a clarified hierarchy of Parliament’s Leadership.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban S.K Bagbin, who joined the workshop via zoom, highlighted the essential role of the media in Ghana’s progressing democratic process and assured of parliament interest of building the capacity of Journalists reporting from the House.

He said members of parliament together with the parliament as an institution community and the press are key partners in performing parliamentary duties on behalf of the people.

The Speaker however stressed the importance of the media’s presence in parliament as an arm that play a critical role in connecting the government with its citizens.

“There is a yawning gap between the representatives and the people, and that gap can only be linked and closed by a very important group of people or a very important institution referred to as media, both traditional and new media,” he said.

Rt Hon Alban Bagbin further recognized the media as indispensable in effectively representing and reflecting the aspirations of the people and stressed the workshop is, therefore, a crucial step in fostering a more informed and participatory democracy.

A Deputy Clerk (IMS), Madam Gloria Kumawu, highlighted the importance of the workshop in addressing the communication gap that could lead to confusion and misinformation.

She said, “The Media is the channel for disseminating the information from Parliament to the populace,” Kumawu noted, emphasizing the importance of journalists’ thorough understanding of the new Standing Orders for the sake of good governance and the enhancement of democracy in Ghana.

The Deputy Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC), Stephen Odoi-Larbi, on behalf of the Dean, Simon Agianab stressed the critical role of the media in Ghana’s democratic process and the importance of constant training of journalists.

According to him, the training is a testament to Parliament’s commitment to ensuring Ghana’s democracy is on a sound footing.

While commending the Speaker, Rt Alban S.K. Bagbin for his dedication to empowering the Press Corps through continuous capacity-building initiatives, Mr. Odoi-Larbi also expressed profound gratitude to the Clerk of Parliament and his Deputies for their support and called for more such workshops in the future.

“We are very grateful for this opportunity and we owe you a lot of gratitude for giving us reasons to believe in the importance of our work. We appeal for more of such capacity-building workshops,” he added.

He nonetheless urged his colleagues to take the lessons learned seriously and to reflect on the knowledge gained in their reporting, saying, “When we succeed, Parliament as an institution will be a better place, convincing more investment in our development as media professionals.”

The workshop marks a significant step toward fostering a collaborative relationship between the Parliament and the media, ensuring that the latter is well-equipped to convey parliamentary proceedings and decisions in the light of the revised Standing Orders to the public accurately.

By doing so, the initiative aims to enhance the transparency and accountability of parliamentary processes and reinforce the foundation of Ghana’s democracy.

As the new Standing Orders take effect, the emphasis on virtual platforms and streamlined procedures is expected to make parliamentary business more accessible and understandable to the public.

This transition represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing effort for Parliament to adapt its legislative framework to the digital age and the evolving expectations of its citizens for more participatory and transparent governance.






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