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Ghana Parliament moves motion for Private Members’ Bill

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The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on Thursday moved a motion in Parliament for the adoption of a proposal to enact a Private Member’s Bill (PMB).

The adoption of the motion would mark a watershed in the annals of Ghana’s Parliament where a Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a minister, that is, a non-government member, can initiate a bill to the House.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in moving the motion for adoption, argued that Article 93(2) of the 1992 Constitution vested legislative power in Parliament and Article 103(3) in particular provided that Parliament used its committees to generate proposals for bills.

Also, the combined effect of those two Articles were that Members of Parliament (MPs) could initiate the passage of laws by submitting proposals for bills, the Majority Leader said.

He said some persons were under the erroneous impression that under Article 108 only the Executive could initiate or introduce a bill in Parliament because it would have financial charges on the Consolidated Fund.

He, however, argued that the Article 108, which people often cited in their argument, did impose an omnibus prohibition on the initiation or introduction of Private Members Bill and that the private member was entitled to introduce a legislation, which did not have the financial implication specified in Article 108.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also indicated that introducing the PMB in the current Parliament would be historic and would add to the country’s democratic credentials as a State.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, seconding the motion, described the proposal as historic.

He recalled that the Speaker, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, at his swearing-in, had stressed the need for the controversy over MPs initiating PMB to be resolved, adding that with the adoption of the motion that controversy had been resolved.

“Mr Speaker, to paraphrase your words, when you were being sworn into office, you said the controversy over a PMB must be resolved.”

“Mr Speaker as we speak today, at the end of the adoption of this motion, your words would be better stated that the controversy has been resolved,” Mr Iddrisu said.

He also lauded the Speaker for his courageous effort to see to the realization of the Private Members Bill and his contribution to enriching the country’s democratic jurisprudence.

“I only can commend you for that courageous effort. The adoption of the motion would mark your contribution as Speaker and the contribution of the 7th Parliament to enriching Ghana’s democratic jurisprudence,” he added.

He reminded members that the PMB would be subjected to the same legislative processes in accordance with Articles 106 and 108 of the 1992 Constitution.

Source: GNA

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