Parliament has embraced new standing orders, effective as of Tuesday, 6 February 2024, introducing a protocol requiring parliamentarians to commence sessions with the recitation of the National Pledge.
This change marks a departure from previous practices and signals a symbolic start to each day’s parliamentary proceedings. Additionally, the revised standing orders mandate heads of institutions to personally appear before Parliament to address inquiries concerning their agencies. This represents a shift from the previous practice where Ministers of State could represent these institutions during questioning.
Under the new framework, Members of Parliament will undergo a roll call and join in reciting the national pledge at the beginning of each session. This ceremonial act aims to foster a sense of unity and national pride among legislators.
Explaining the implications of the new dispensation, First Deputy Minority Whip in Parliament, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim, informed journalists that independent bodies such as the Electoral Commission, CHRAJ boss, BoG governor, NCCE, and the Auditor General will now face questioning similar to ministers on the parliamentary floor. Moreover, provisions have been made in the new standing orders regarding the mode of answering questions during parliamentary inquiries.
Mr. Ibrahim emphasized the enhanced accountability measures, stating, “The administrator can come and be interrogated by a committee and can be asked questions, and he will respond to the questions, and the mode of answering the questions has been catered for in the new standing orders.”