Speaker advocates for expanded membership of Public Accounts Committee
Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has urged the Parliamentary Subsidiary Legislation Committee to consider increasing the membership of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
He said Parliament would also strategize to form subcommittees within the PAC and assign them the voluminous reports before it and report to the leadership of the Committee to finalize and submit to the House.
The Speaker made the recommendation on Tuesday in a statement to the House to address matters that were pertinent to the functioning of Parliament and lies at the core of what Members of Parliament do in the Chamber and by extension the House.
He intimated that the reports of the Auditor-General were very critical and crucial for the sanity of Ghana’s democracy.
“I have had the opportunity to dialogue with the Auditor-General and his team and they are ready to support us in this direction,” Mr Bagbin said.
“He (Auditor-General) says their spirits are low because a lot of what they submit to Parliament, we haven’t attended to. We must lift up that spirit by quickening our pace for consideration of those reports and submitting to the House. I hope we are together.”
The Speaker said there was a growing trend where members of the various Committees of the House sat in Committee meetings, participate in the meeting and then come on to the floor of Parliament to raise new objections to the Committee’s report when same was not done at the committee’s level.
“We have what we have in this House as the Bagbin’s rule, that when a member of a committee raises objection at the Committee’s level and doesn’t succeed, it doesn’t prevent the member from raising the same objection at the plenary… but you must first raise it at the Committee level.
“You can disagree with the decision of the committee and therefore you bring it to the plenary for the whole House to consider the reason behind your objection and agree with you or disagree with you,” he said.
“And that is what I did some years ago as Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee; where on the floor I objected to report of my committee and it was upheld and ruled upon by the Speaker. That is what I call the Bagbin’s rule. That is permitted but if you don’t raise it at the Committee’s level, I don’t think it is proper for you to come and raise new objections against the Committee’s report that you all agreed upon (either by consensus or unanimously) and you come to raise new objections against it, that definitely will not be accorded in the House.”
He noted that deliberations at the various committees’ levels and their reports were extremely crucial in the work of Parliament.
He reminded all Parliamentary Committees that they were required under the law to provide reports on matters referred to them before the expiration of the Session of the House, which must be complied with; unless leave had been sought and granted by the House.