Parliament adopts proposal for enactment of Private Members’ Bills

Parliament in a historic move yesterday adopted a proposal for the enactment of Private Members’ Bills. 

By this, both members of the House, citizens, Civil Society Organisations and unions could draft and initiate legislation in the House. 

Moving the motion, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said paving the way for members and citizens to initiate legislations was long overdue. 

He said though Article 93(2) of the 1992 Constitution vests legislative powers in Parliament, other provisions limit the House’s law making powers and invites the citizenry to initiate bills into the House.

Tracing the history of attempts by previous parliaments to allow for members to introduce bills for consideration, the Suame MP said, the time was now for the acceptance of members and citizens to initiate legislations.

He said with this, the culture where only the executive introduced bills would be a thing of the past to allow the moral and social conscience of society to contribute to legislation in the country. 

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, seconding the motion said this would make Parliament walk beyond the bondage of the executive. 

“This motion would bring to an end the culture of all bills must emanate from the executive,” and notified his colleagues that their bills would be subjected to the strict procedures those emanating from the executive were subjected to. 

Cautioning them against abusing the opportunity, the Tamale South MP encouraged members to explore moral and social issues that have plagued the country. 

Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye, who at his inauguration on January 7, 2017, promised to see the private members bill materialise, said throughout the Commonwealth, which Ghana is a member of, “the enactment of Private Members’ Bill was now the order of the day.”

The adoption of the motion, Speaker Oquaye said would come to nought, if members on both sides of the House did not collaborate in working on such bills. 

“It is imperative to indicate that Private Members’ Bills require consensus building across the political divide in the House,” Speaker Oquaye said. 

Referring the motion to the leadership of the Standing Committees and the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Speaker Oquaye directed them to report to plenary in 10 days the appropriate procedure for the enactment of Private Members’ Bills. 

He announced that the Clark’s Office has received two bills with memorandum from Nana S. K.B. Asante and entreated the leadership of the Committees to consider in the House’s quest to ensure the passage of the Private Members’ Bills. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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