Parliament urged to be more responsive to needs of citizenry

The Executive Director of the Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations Network, Nana Kwame Obeng, has urged Parliament to be more responsive to the needs of the citizenry.

He explained that making the House more responsive to their needs would enable citizens to really appreciate the work and dealings of Members of Parliament (MPs).

Mr Obeng commended the Speaker for steering the affairs of Parliament in a manner devoid of partisanship, he is fair and neutral which the citizens were satisfied and his vision to transform Parliament by initiating reforms.

He stressed on the need for major reforms to be introduced in the various Parliaments across Africa to address the challenge of access to parliamentary information to aid civil society organisations in the work which should include the piloting of an index to rank Parliaments on openness within the sub-region.

Mr Obeng made the call when he led a delegation made up of the leadership of the Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations Network to pay a courtesy call on the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin in Parliament and to introduce the Network and its initiatives as well as discuss ways to foster engagements with the House on parliamentary openness.

According to him, “we need to introduce major reforms in Parliaments across the African continent to address challenges of parliamentary information to aid civil society organisations in creating more probity, transparency, accountability and participatory governments that can restore citizens’ confidence, trust and promote inclusive growth.

“The pilot phase will rank 10 Parliaments and National Assemblies in West Africa and will involve deeper engagements with key civil society organisations.

Mr Bagbin underscored the need for more inclusivity and participation of both sides of the political divide in the progress, growth and development processes of the country and basic important national policies must get the buy-in of the representatives of the people, and that buy-in would in effect enrich policies.

He postulated that humanity finally was settling in on the conviction when there was true democracy the society thrived healthily, and in the absence of democracy the opposite pertained and the country had signed on to the Open Governance Initiatives and could not go against what she had dedicated and committed itself.

Mr Bagbin indicated that it would build more transparent, accountable and participatory governments that could restore citizens’ confidence, trust and promote inclusive growth and called for closer partnerships and regular dialogue between Parliament and civil society organisations to be able to achieve the needed progress, growth and development.

“Parliament will soon outdoor a revised Standing Orders which will ensure more access and openness in its business and when approved the new Standing Orders will open up Committee sittings to the media to allow for more probity, transparency and accountability,” he revealed. -GNA

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