The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, has urged Members of Parliament to endeavour to conduct themselves appropriately. He said they should demonstrate their commitment by always attending sittings of Parliament and its subcommittee meetings. He observed that since assumption of office on January 7 this year as the Speaker, some members of Parliament had absented themselves from Parliament without proper authority, which violated the rules of the House. "My appeal is that members should at all times do their level best to help mother Ghana. However, in case of difficulties, regarding ill health or any exigency, they should seek proper authorisation and should also as evidence, show proper medical certification," he added. He was speaking at an induction and orientation seminar for new Members of Parliament in Koforidua in the Eastern Region over the weekend. The three-day seminar was on the theme: "Deepening transparent and accountable governance: strengthening Parliament for national development." Role of Parliament Prof. Oquaye said the fundamental role of Parliament was to promote transparency and accountable governance as expressly articulated in the 1992 Constitution, which grants Parliament the power to, among other functions, approve the budget estimate and the economic policy of the government. Accolade Additionally, he said, Parliament had the power to appoint committees for effective discharge of its constitutional mandate, especially the establishment of committees to conduct investigations into the activities of ministries, departments and agencies with the view to ensuring accountability. Professor Oquaye said there were a number of procedural mechanisms, including motions, statements and questions, at the disposal of Parliament to hold the government in check. He said although credible electioneering and peaceful transfer of power in-between governments had over the years earned the country an enviable accolade as a model of democracy in Africa, "we must, however, not lose sight of the fact that a meaningful democracy goes beyond just granting citizens the opportunity to elect who should govern them. "It is equally important, how the actors in governance effectively and efficiently employ state resources to meet the needs and aspirations of the citizens. Against this background, the principles of transparency and accountability must find true expression in our democratic governance and be reinforced at all times," he added. Reasons for induction and orientation According to the Speaker of Parliament, the purpose of the seminar was to devote time to properly orient and usher new Members of Parliament, so that they would be able to find their bearings within the precincts of the House. He gave an assurance that old parliamentarians would also be offered the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in the legislative business by sharing experiences with their colleagues where necessary, and take stock of their activities in order to improve upon their performance in Parliament. The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, entreated the new members to learn the rules of Parliament on a daily basis. For his part, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, also called on his colleagues to put what they had learnt into practice, since Parliament remained their operation theatre. The Clerk of Parliament, Mr Emmanuel Anyimadu, reminded the participants that their visibility and effective contribution, especially at plenary sittings, would undoubtedly project them to prominence.
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