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General News of Saturday, 16 September 2017


Many MPs on Parliamentary Committees not working – Mensah Bonsu

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has disclosed that Parliament will cut down the size of committees in the House since some members in a single committee is too much.

The leadership of the House, he noted, have observed that almost all the committees including the standing or select committees have about 30 members, which is too much for a single committee.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Leader in Parliament, was addressing the media at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre in Accra on the invitation of Parliamentary News Africa to answer questions on the main function of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and his vision for the ministry.

He explained that most of the time only seven or fewer members are active in committee meetings and questioned why a 30-member committee should have only seven to be active.

According to the Majority Leader, the Constitution provided for every member to belong to at least one standing committee which is stipulated in the Constitution are the committees that are charged with oversight responsibilities.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also Member of Parliament for Suame, noted the mix-up in their rules of procedure.

For instance, he indicated that the standing orders where the committees that have oversight responsibilities are referred to as select committees and standing committees as those that help them in the internal organisation of the House.

“In the new standing orders, we want to conform to the constitution, so we are changing the name of the select committees to conform to what pertains in the constitution and the new select committees will appropriately assume the name standing committees.

“We want to cut down the size and let every member belong to one committee but some legislators are not in favour of the idea, but if we indeed want these committees to be effective, then that is the way to go,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stressed.

He lamented that issues of ineffectiveness are not peculiar to the committees, but the staff of parliament as well adding that “there are so many clerks assigned to committees who do not even know what work they are supposed to do and the functions of the committees”.