The executive’s ability to approve the budget of Parl has the potential to undermine Parl’s oversight responsibility- Speaker
Speaker of Parliament has warned that the current siruation where the Executive arm of government approves the budget of the legislature, has the potential of undermining the oversight responsibility of the House.
Mr. Bagbin was speaking at the University of Professional Studies (UPSA), Accra, on the occasion of the ‘Third Eminent Guest Lecture Series’ on the topic “The Future of Parliament in Ghana’s Democratic Governance.”
“Ironically, the Executive approves Parliament’s budget, giving the Executive enormous and overbearing powers over the Legislature. The current arrangement, in which the Executive approves Parliament’s own budget, has the potential to undermine the legislature’s oversight capacity.
“Under the shadow of a hung parliament, Rt. Hon. Bagbin called for strategic engagements, consensus building, and conflict resolution, which will provide a channel for both sides of the House to approach societal issues with a single goal in mind: the interests of the Ghanaian people.”
He emphasized the importance of strengthening Parliament’s oversight drive, acknowledging that while Parliament is endowed with broad powers under several Articles of the 1992 Constitution (103, 69, 82, 181, and so on), the Legislature’s oversight mandate has been the weakest link during the Fourth Republic.
According to him, the only way to effectively implement this oversight function in order to improve accountability and transparency is for both sides of the House to take a bipartisan and neutral approach in how Parliament monitors the management of the State and its resources.
“The economic incentives and carrots that can be gained for siding with the executive, facilitated by extreme loyalty and strict party discipline,” he said, “have all contributed to the weakening of Parliament’s position and oversight power.”
He underscored the need to include traditional and religious leaders, as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the work of Parliament, to improve Parliament-citizen relations even further.
“One such initiative will be the ‘Citizen Bureau,’ which will be Parliament’s partnership with CSOs,” he stated.
”This will enable such civil society actors to legislate using residual powers in order to establish a governance organ. By doing so, Parliament will become more aware of its shortcomings and the gaps that need to be filled in order for the Legislature to improve.”
He said “the wave of disillusionment that has affected many countries, including Ghana, should be reversed to restore hope in the power and promise of democracy. The role of Parliament is critical in this reversal effort.”