The Government’s Assurance Committee of Parliament is set to evaluate government’s promises within four ministerial sectors which include Special Development Initiatives, Energy, Railways and Education.
The Assurance Committee is mandated by the House [Parliament] to track promises made by government officials especially within the precincts of Parliament and hold them to account.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop on the activities of the committee for some selected members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) at Ada in the Greater Accra region, the Chairman of the Committee, Yaw Frimpong Addo, indicated that the committee was ready to carry out its mandate enshrined in the Standing Orders of Parliament as well as the working manual of the committee.
According to him, the exercise which the committee is about to undertake should not be misconstrued as a witch-hunt of certain ministers or certain personalities in the helm of affairs at various institutions in the country, but should rather be seen as a call to duty in the service of the nation.
The Committee on Government Assurances is composed of not more than 25 Members. It pursues all assurances, promises and undertakings given by Ministers at Plenary from time to time. It reports to the House on the extent to which such assurances have been carried out.
He explained to the members of the Parliamentary Press Corps that the committee had to stay its public activities for the first one and half years of the Akufo Addo led administration because it had just come into office and it would not be fair to hold the administration to account when it had barely done anything at all.
Beginning from next month, the committee will start its verification visits with a specific focus on programmes and policies being implemented by the Education Ministry, the Railway Ministry, the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives as well as Energy and Power Ministry.
The Chairman of the Committee, Yaw Frimpong Addo, who is also the MP for Manso-Adubia, indicated that the Star-Ghana sponsored visits would focus on the implementation of some government flagship policies such as the free Senior High School (SHS) education policy; the restoration of allowances for teachers and nurses; and the $1 million per constituency promise among others.
The former Chairman of the committee in the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic and now Ranking Member to the committee, Emmanuel Bedzra, cautioned sector ministers to be cooperative during the committee’s exercise otherwise they could fall victim of the sanctioning regime that could lead to their dismissal from office.
The NDC MP for Ho West, also indicated that the committee could name and shame a minister for persistently lying on oath, which could cause him or her his or her appointment.
“If the committee was not satisfied with the extent of work done by a particular ministry, we could recommend to Parliament to censure the minister in charge of that ministry for poor performance. And if the recommendation is adopted by the House, two-thirds majority votes for his removal would lead to his dismissal.” he indicated.