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Parliament schools press corps on new Standing Orders

Parliament at the weekend held a two-day capacity building workshop on the new Standing Orders for the Parliamentary Press Corps at the Aqua Safari Resort of Ada in the Greater Accra Region.

Standing Orders are the written rules, which regulate the proceedings of Parliament.

The new Standing Orders, passed by the House on December 21, 2023, and came into effect on January 2, 2024, address the evolving needs of Ghana’s dynamic and hybrid parliamentary democracy.

Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, in a virtual message to the workshop, lauded the role of the media in enhancing Ghana’s democracy.

‘For Members of Parliament, together with the parliamentary community, the press is a critical partner in transacting Parliamentary Business, which is the business of the people,’ the Speaker said.

‘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 t
he media, both traditional and new media.’

A similar workshop had already been organised for Members of Parliament, Speaker Bagbin said, and that the final group to be taken through the new Standing Orders would be civil society.

Mr Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, The Clerk to Parliament, said Parliaments of the Fourth Republic had, in consonance with the provisions of Article 110 of the 1992 Constitution, regulated procedures of the House by Standing Orders, which prescribe the rules and practices for the conduct of parliamentary business.

After 23 years of adherence to the provisions of the previous Standing Orders of the House, with minimal amendments, it was prudent that Parliament refines its processes and procedures in accordance with emerging legislative trends across the Commonwealth.

He said 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 Co
vid-19 pandemic revealed some gaps in the Orders of House.

These require that the House adapts innovative techniques and strategies in order to deliver on the mandate of Parliament.

Moreover, the hung nature of the Eighth Parliament, which was the first of its kind since the inception of the Fourth Republic, presented a number of novel situations and challenges that were not within the contemplation of the drafters of previous Orders of the House.

Mr Nsiah said the revised Orders, adopted by a Resolution of the House on Thursday, 21st December, 2023, and took effect on 2nd January, 2024, introduced practices and procedures, including the recital of the National Pledge, the conduct of Parliamentary Business through virtual platforms, and clearly delineates the hierarchy of the Leadership of Parliament.

Mr Stephen Odoi-Larbi, the Vice Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps, on behalf of the Dean, expressed gratitude to the Speaker and Parliament for organising the workshop for the members of the Press Corps.

‘As one of the custodians of our democracy, the media’s role in the seamless functioning of the legislative arm of government cannot be overemphasised,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency