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Help Committee on Assurances track govt promises— Owusu-Amankwah

BY: Seth J. Bokpe
Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah
Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah

The Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances, Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah, has rallied public support for the work of the committee by keeping eyes on government assurances and their delivery through projects across the country.

That he said would ensure that the government was held accountable to deliver its promises to the electorate and at the same time provide an avenue for Parliament to keep the executive in check.

He said “democracy is about transparency and accountability and being the committee that tracks government promises meant that it had the power to scrutinise and examine” all government assurances,” he said at a workshop on tracking government assurances through Parliament.

Connecting citizens to Parliament

The workshop is part of a project christened 'Connecting Citizens to Parliament,' which engages citizens to amplify their voices on the platform on promises made by Ministers to ensure accountability.

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Assurances Committee

The committee pursues all assurances, promises and undertakings given by Ministers at Plenary from time to time. It reports to the House on the extent to which such assurances have been carried out.

To that end, Mr Owusu-Amankwah said there would soon be a public forum to allow the citizenry to express their views on the delivery of government promises.

He said currently, the committee’s modus operandi was to write to ministries about their promises and summon ministers when it is not satisfied with responses to queries about the delivery of promises.

A Ranking Member of the committee, Mr Rashid Pelpuo, also added his voice to the call on the public to be the eyes and ears of the committee.

Government Assurances Tracker

Organised by Penplusbyte,a non-governmental organisation focused on accountable governance, the occasion was used to educate civil society organisations in the transparency and accountability space on the Government Assurances Tracker—a digital platform meant to track all government promises, their delivery timelines.

The tracker is on www.assurances.gov.gh and connects the citizenry to Parliament, providing the platform to upload complaints about ongoing projects among others.

It provides space for the upload of pictures, audio and audio visual materials on ongoing projects with evidence of shoddy work and the use of substandard materials. The site some of the government assurances archived since 2014 with information on their status—whether delivered, pending or ongoing in addition to policy briefs.

“It will encourage a clear and objective view about what people think about the executive and their work,” he said adding that it was the goal of the committee to ensure that the government delivered on its promises to improve the quality of life of Ghanaians.

Feed back loop

The Deputy Programmes Director of Penplusbyte, Mr Jerry Sam, noted that the tracker closed the feedback loop between the citizenry and Parliament.

“It is to make citizens the eye of the committee. The committee does not need to go to project sites but can have reports from the citizenry everywhere,” he said.

He said although the committee had been in existence for a while, most people did not know about its work hence the workshop was also meant to build and strengthen relationships between the civil society organisations in the transparency and accountability space and the committee.