The Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, Ms Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, has called for high-quality research findings for Parliament to use as evidence in decision making and come out with good policies.
“The gathering of evidence and the use of such data by Parliament to carry out the function of overseeing the activities and spending of the Executive is relevant in the democratic dispensation of every country,” she stated.
Ms Sarfo made the call last Monday in Accra at the opening ceremony of a three-day training workshop on “Evidence Generation and use of Legislative Oversight Function in Ghana and ECOWAS Parliaments”.
The workshop brought together ECOWAS Parliaments and administrative staff of the Parliament of Ghana, hosted by the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), in collaboration with CLEAR South Africa with support from the World Bank.
She said most of the evidence in policy making was not necessarily scientific but emanated from statistical data, public opinion, input from think tanks, reports of stakeholders, consultation and evaluation of seminars, which were not empirical enough for effective decision making.
Ms Sarfo, who is also the Minister for Public Procurement and a Member of Parliament (MP) for Dome-Kwabenya, said the availability of research and reliable information were critical factors for evidence policies and laws in parliamentary procedures.
She expressed concern about the existing bureaucracies within the Executive, which occasionally slowed down access to critical information, thereby impeding decision making processes of parliament on its oversight functions.
“Parliament is empowered to control the expenditure of the country and also exercise oversight function over the executive, which is imperative in Article 93(2) of the 1992 Constitution,” she stated.
She further said the Legislative function of Parliament included passing bills into laws and scrutinising statutory instruments, authorising the granting of loans and monitoring the exchange receipts and payments, which were imperative in Article 184 of the constitution.
Passage of RTI
Ms Sarfo said the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill would enhance evidence generation and use by Parliament and its various committees as well as the entire citizens, adding that the digitalisation of Parliament’s activities into e-procurement was a further enhancement of evidence gathering to promote proper oversight over the Executive.
“The training programme will promote evidence used by Parliament through building the capacity of parliamentarians to use monitoring and evaluation as part of its oversight functions”.