PN Africa establishes dedicated Private Members’ Bills desk

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The Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) has created a dedicated desk to work and collaborate with organizations, corporate Ghana and individuals, who are interested in bringing a Private Members’ Bill to Parliament.

The decision to establish the PMBs desk was informed by the strong interest of participants for an entity that will be dedicated to work closely with Parliament to ensure that PMBs once laid in Parliament get all the needed attention from Parliament. Participants made this call during and after PNAfrica’s webinar to commemorate the journey so far on the adoption of a motion to start admitting Private Members’ Bill in the Parliament of Ghana.

July 16 marks exactly one year since the 7th Parliament of Ghana adopted a motion to start admitting Private Members’ Bill (PMB). This brought to an end the old regime where only the Executive arm of Government had the sole prerogative to introduce Bills in Parliament. A Private Members’ Bill, however, should not offend Article 108 and will not be categorized as what the British call “a money bill”.

The introduction of PMB has now created the enabling platform for individual Members of Parliament (MPs) who are not Ministers of State to introduce or initiate bills on the floor of the House for consideration. It also affords non-government officials, private citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) the opportunity to work with a Member of Parliament to initiate a Bill.

Unfortunately, since the adoption of the motion to admit Private Members’ Bill last year, only one law has been passed by Parliament which was introduced and co-sponsored by Ras Mubarak. There are, however, indications that several PMBs are in the process to be introduced in Parliament.

The PNAfrica webinar sought to bring to the attention of citizens, CSOs, Development Partners, and the Diplomatic Community the opportunity to use PMBs to amend an existing legislation or introduce new legislation to improve the country’s governance architecture and enhance sustainable development.

It also provided the platform for citizens to be sensitized on the parliamentary procedures involved in the introduction of Private Members’ Bill. In addition, it offered the opportunity for experience sharing on the use of Private Members’ Bill by parliamentary monitoring organization (PMO) in Africa.

Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) is a civil society parliamentary monitoring organization (PMO) promoting Open Parliaments across Africa. We achieve this through strengthening parliamentary institutions, convening networks of PMOs in Africa, supporting media and access to information, and ensuring accountability, inclusion and promoting livelihoods.

PNAfrica has over the years been involved in convening and strengthening networks that seek to engage national parliaments in Africa towards enhancing transparency and encouraging citizens’ participation in the parliamentary process.

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