Speaker of Parliament Introduces New Standing Orders to Enhance Legislative Efficiency

The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, unveiled the January 2024 Standing Orders. The new directives, replacing the outdated November 2000 Orders, signify a crucial step towards addressing the evolving needs of the nation’s dynamic parliamentary democracy.

Speaking at an orientation workshop for Members of Parliament and Procedural Staff in Ho, the Speaker highlighted the imperative of aligning parliamentary conduct with contemporary trends and requirements. He emphasized the necessity for lawmakers to adapt to the updated procedures, stating, “When the drummers alter their beats, the dancers must adjust their steps.”

The revisions, deeply rooted in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, reflect a “living organism” approach, ensuring Parliament remains adaptable to societal shifts. Notably, the new Orders aim to mitigate challenges encountered under the previous directives, including conflicting interpretations, tensions, and even judicial interventions.

Among the notable changes are provisions for more effective and efficient parliamentary performance, as well as an expanded focus on oversight through an increased number of Parliamentary Committees. Additionally, innovative practices such as the recital of the National Pledge and roll call of MPs signify a commitment to fostering a more accountable and participatory legislative environment.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, emphasized the pivotal role of the Standing Orders in guiding MPs and ensuring adherence to parliamentary principles. Meanwhile, the Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza, commended the Speaker’s leadership in spearheading the revision process and expressed optimism that the orientation workshop would equip members with a comprehensive understanding of the new provisions.

In welcoming the changes, Mr Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, Clerk to Parliament, highlighted the contemporary challenges faced by Parliaments, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the unique circumstances of the hung Eighth Parliament. He underscored the importance of the new Orders in addressing these challenges and enhancing parliamentary functionality.

He further added, the introduction of the January 2024 Standing Orders marks a significant milestone in Ghana’s parliamentary history, signalling a commitment to legislative innovation and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the nation.

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