Leader of the National Democratic Congress’ Caucus in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has implored the leadership of both sides to ensure that the composition of parliamentary committees is reflective of the current nature of the House.
According to him, given the current numbers in Parliament where the NDC and the NPP Caucus both have 137 seats, it is imperative that the leadership and composition of committees be reflective of this.
His demand, he said, is supported by article 103, clause 5 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 154 of the Standing Orders of Parliament which states that “The composition of the Committees shall, as much as possible, reflect the different shades of opinion in Parliament.”
He continued by saying that “It is on this score that the NDC Caucus will insist that the composition of committees of this 8th Parliament should reflect its very current nature. The composition should reflect beyond mere numbers and cover other factors including leadership of committees”.
He further explained that besides the Committee on Selection, which is chaired by the Speaker, the Standing Orders of Parliament provides for 11 Standing Committees and 16 Select Committees; out of which the chairmanship of 7 are pre-determined by the Standing Orders.
“The Rt. Hon Speaker chairs the Committee on Selection (Order 151) and the Standing Orders Committee (Order 157). The Appointments Committee and the Committee on Privileges are chaired by the First Deputy Speaker. The Second Deputy Speaker chairs the Committee on Members Holding Office of Profit.
“The Majority Leader chairs both the Business Committee (per Order 160) and the House Committee (per Order 168). Per Order 168, the Public Accounts Committee should be chaired by a Member whose side does not control the Executive branch of Government.”
The Standing Orders, he added, do not pre-determine the leadership of the remaining 4 Standing Committees, namely: Finance Committee, Committee on Gender and Children, Committee on Government Assurance and the Subsidiary Legislation Committee.
Similarly, the leadership of the 16 Select-Committees are not pre-determined by the Standing Orders.
The Tamale South MP stated that in line with the Order 154 of the Standing Orders of Parliament and Article 103 (5) of the 1992 constitution, “Out of the 16 Select Committees, the NDC should chair 8 while the NPP would also chair 8. This would be a true reflection of the different shades of opinion in the current Parliament as envisaged in the 1992 Constitution under article 103 (5) and Order 154 of the Standing Orders of the House.”
He further implored leadership of the House to take into consideration gender, age distribution, experience, regional balance among others when nominating qualified persons to serve on the committees.