In an effort to address the persistent issue of late attendance among Members of Parliament (MPs), Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has unveiled a set of stringent measures set to be implemented starting next year.
Under the proposed changes, entry points to the parliamentary chamber will be locked promptly at 10:00 AM on each scheduled sitting day.
MPs who fail to arrive on time will find themselves locked out until the Speaker deems it appropriate to reopen the doors.
As an alternative approach, Speaker Bagbin has put forward the suggestion of adjusting the starting time of parliamentary sittings from the current 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
This modification aims to afford parliamentary committees the opportunity to conduct meetings in the morning, ensuring that reports are prepared for consideration during the afternoon sessions.
Acknowledging the challenges associated with early morning sessions, Speaker Bagbin encouraged both caucuses to engage in discussions and propose viable alternatives to the proposed measures.
He emphasized the importance of reaching a consensus through dialogue; however, in the absence of an agreement, the outlined measures will be put into effect at the commencement of the next parliamentary session.
During his announcement to MPs on Friday, December 8, Speaker Bagbin explained, “At 10 am, the doors will be locked. The Speaker will be in and it will take some time before the doors will be opened. Not that they won’t be opened but it will take some time. And so if you are not able to comply with it, let us all agree that we will start sitting in the afternoon, from 2 p.m. or 4 p.m.; the Committees will have their meetings in the morning; reports will be ready for us to consider in the afternoon; and then by the time we adjourn around 8 p.m., the traffic situation will have improved.
“Your coming to Parliament too will not be that early, so you can decide to leave at noon and by that time, there would have been less traffic and you won’t consume more fuel and then you can come in. I can see that it is not easy for members to report that early for sitting so the two Caucuses either have joint Caucus meetings or, at your level, discuss these things and come back with proposals. If not, these are the measures that I want to put in place which will take effect from our next meeting.”
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