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Parliament implements new standing orders: National Pledge and accountability measures introduced

February 7, 2024
Parliament implements new standing orders: National Pledge and accountability measures introduced
Mr Alban Kingsford Bagbin

The Speaker of , Mr Alban Kingsford Bagbin, initiated a significant change in Ghana's legislative proceedings by leading Members of Parliament (MPs) in reciting the National Pledge at the start of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic. This symbolic gesture marks the implementation of new Standing Orders, signalling a renewed commitment to national values and accountability.

Under the new rules, MPs will recite the National Pledge at the beginning of each week's session, reinforcing the importance of patriotism and unity in . Additionally, a roll call exercise was conducted, highlighting the formalities preceding the day's proceedings.

Mr Bagbin emphasized that these changes reflect the evolving nature of parliamentary practice, stating, “The National Pledge will be recited by Members of Parliament at the first Sitting of every week in a Meeting.” Furthermore, the new Standing Orders introduce a significant accountability measure, requiring heads of state or institutions to personally address queries from Parliament.

Previously, Ministers of State could represent heads of institutions during question time, but the new regulations mandate direct appearances before Parliament. This shift aims to enhance transparency and ensure that accountability mechanisms are robust and effective.

Speaking to the Parliamentary Press Corps, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, the First Deputy Minority Whip, elaborated on the expanded scope of accountability. Independent bodies such as the , Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (), Governor of , (), and the Auditor General will now face parliamentary scrutiny akin to that of ministers.

Mr Ibrahim affirmed, “Independent bodies like the Electoral Commission, CHRAJ, BoG governor, NCCE, and the Auditor General are going to be questioned just as we question ministers on the Floor, and the mode of answering questions on the Floor has also been provided in the new Standing Orders.”

The Eighth Parliament, which commenced on January 7, 2021, reconvened on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, after the recess, marking the final year of its four-year tenure. With these new Standing Orders in place, Ghana's Parliament is poised to uphold national values, foster accountability, and serve the interests of the Ghanaian people.

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