Speaker Aaron Oquaye advocates for digital Parliament

| Updated Jul 18, 2018 at 11:29am


Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye


Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has advocated for full digitization of Parliament for rapid delivery of well researched information.

He said the importance of Parliaments the world over is to ensure among others, the improvement in the welfare of the citizenry, achieving this aspiration requires that policies and legislations are grounded on credible evidence-based information.

According to him, “Without the adoption and use of credible evidence-based information in our policy formulation and legislative processes, our efforts at maximising resources at improving our developmental outcomes will be in vain, as whatever that we do with non-factual information will fail to achieve any desirable impact.”

Speaking at an opening ceremony to launch a week-long of this year's Research and Information under the theme: "25 Years of Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana; the Role of Research and Information" organized by Inter Departmental Research and Information Group (IDRIG) of Parliament, Professor Oquaye wanted a paperless Parliament, e-Hansard and co as soon as practicable.

The Clerk to Parliament, Emmanuel Anyimadu, noted that the operational environment and cultural of Parliaments are changing rapidly because of digitisation and social technology saying “digital parliament is a living reality because it is directly linked to the electorates, and makes parliament more open and visible.”

He said, “For Ghana’s Parliament to overcome the uncertainties associated with a digital Parliament, we need stronger internal systems and processes supported by state of the art ICT infrastructure and research capabilities.”

Recognising how Parliament of Ghana has evolved and improved in the utilisation of ICT and research resources, he stressed that we have a lot of work to do to facilitate access of MPs and staff to a wide range of information and research products and services which will propel parliament to the next level of its technological development.

“As an institution, we must start thinking of budgeting for ICT infrastructure and training programs in that area.”

Mr. Anyimadu, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Parliamentary Service and doubles as the Administrator, advised the Team to work together with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) to bring into full operation all underutilised past and presents products and services to aid the work processes of Parliament and ultimately help achieve a digital Parliament.

“A digital Parliament where MPs and staff deeply appreciate research and information tools, and utilise same in the execution of their mandates as information departments of our Parliament, it is important to note that gathering, processing, management and sharing among departments are key to any vibrant and forward looking Parliament,” he noted.

He also acknowledged the fact that, “there have been several interactions among Speakership, Leadership.”

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, called for information sharing among various departments to make Parliament stronger, from the Committee level to the Plenary.

Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, also called for stronger collaboration between “The Hansard, Research Department and Committees for effective and efficient delivery. “Strong Parliament hinges on strong committees,” he added.

On 1st August 2016, Parliament of Ghana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) to strengthen its institutional capacity.

As per the MOU, both institutions commit to training and providing platforms for sharing expertise on a peer to peer basis for Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff to enable Parliament to serve the citizenry. An outcome of MOU is the establishment of IDRIG as an inter-departmental structure to oversee the implementation of activities geared toward improving information support activities to Members of parliament and its relevant stakeholders in effective and efficient manner.

The IDRIG, which commenced on a pilot basis in June 2016, consists of six (6) Departments, namely Research, Library, Hansard, committees, ICT and Public affairs Departments. These departments hitherto, were operating in silos with a significant amount of turf protections and the inter-departmental, rivalry being the norm. This led to the duplication of information storage systems and a lack of clarity on the roles of departments among their primary clients- the Members of Parliament.

Story by Edzorna Mensah