The Speaker of Parliament is to constitute a committee to ensure the fulfilment of assurances made by Members of Parliament (MPs) and other operatives of Parliament.
The proposed Parliamentary Assurances Committee will also assist committees of Parliament to consider and produce reports on bills, financial transactions and other issues within the stipulated time given by the Speaker of Parliament.
The proposed committee will be different from the Government Assurances Committee, which focuses on promises and assurances given by Ministers of State.
Towards that end, a working group on the Parliamentary Assurances Committee has been formed by the Speaker, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, to seek the views of professional and civil society organisations on the proposed committee.
Last Thursday, the working group organised a forum in Accra to get input from the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC). It was sponsored by Star Ghana.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the working group and Majority Chief Whip, Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, said the Speaker wanted to have that committee to look at assurances made within Parliament not made by Ministers of State or government officials but by operatives of Parliament to Parliament.
For instance, he said, a bill did not have to stay for more than three months before a committee.
However, he said, bills had been referred to committees and they had stayed in committees for more than three months.
"We need somebody to monitor to say, the Speaker referred the Bill to Local Government Committee so counting from today, three months is when? So latest from that day we expect a report from the committee.
"So if for any reason they are not able to produce a report and submit it, they must come back to Parliament and seek extension. Nobody does that," he said.
Mr Ameyaw-Cheremeh said if the Speaker had given a directive, it should be followed by considering the issue and presenting the report on time.
He said the committee would remind leaders and other members of the need to do the work assigned to them by the speaker.
"What we say to ourselves must be respected.
What we agree to do must be done and this committee will be the one that holds the whip to say that you have not done your work," he said.
Concerns and suggestions
The President of the GJA, Mr Affail Monney, suggested that MPs should educate their constituents on their work.
He called for improvement on the follow up mechanism of the Government Assurances Committee.
Mr Monney urged MPs to shun destructive criticisms and improve constructive criticism .
The Dean of the PPC, Nana Agyeman Birikorang, said the PPC supported the idea for the creation of the Parliamentary Assurances Committee since it would facilitate the work of Parliament.
He suggested that the committee should periodically update the House on the work of committees of Parliament.
Nana Agyeman Birikorang recommended that the Speaker of Parliament should set up an ad hoc committee to reward an outstanding MP every year to encourage MPs to do more research work.