Parliament to Establish Legislative and Legal Services- Bagbin

Mr. Alban S. K. Bagbin, Majority leader on Friday announced that Parliament would soon establish a Legislative and Legal Services to take care of minor legal and social issues confronting the House. He said Parliament had over the years overburdened the Attorney- General's Department for the execution of trivial issues that Parliament had not been able to dispense off due to lack of resources to engage consultants. Mr. Bagbin made this known in a day's round-table on the draft budget bill, which was attended by members of parliament, journalists and civil society organisations in Accra. "The bill, if passed into Budget Act would among other things promote good governance, rule of law, transparency, accountability and deepen democracy and give credibility to Ghana's democracy," he said. The Majority leader said the process, which began in 2001 was all inclusive as the committee members ranged from the majority to the minority with reasonable representation from civil society organisations. Mr. Bagbin said the Budget Act, which was operational in some African countries, was necessary and could serve as checks and balances as it was not skewed towards the direction of a particular government or political party. He said Parliament had also strengthened non-partisanship and impartiality by allowing a minority member to chair the appointment of Parliamentary Service staff and called for a second look at the Hybrid system of government that Government was practising. Mr. Bagbin, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nadowli West, explained that it was necessary for Ghana to decide whether to implement the Parliamentary or Executive system of government since the hybrid system had its own limitations. Dr. Rasheed Draman, Director of Parliamentary Centre, Africa Programmes, a non-governmental organisation said the US, Uganda and the Philippines had successfully implemented the Budget Act, while Kenya, South Korea, Nigeria, Canada and Afghanistan were on the verge of implementing similar programmes. He said the implementation of the Budget Act would work effectively if the stakeholders were independent, objective devoid of political party colouration. Dr. Draman appealed to all those engaged in the draft bill to shed off their political inclination. He also called for technocrats in budgeting to contribute meaningfully towards the implementation of the Act.