The STAR-Ghana Foundation is advocating for the setting up of an office of scrutiny for Ghana’s legislative arm, Parliament.
Its Executive Director, Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu says this will be staffed with professionals who will independently assess bills and agreements brought before the House before they are considered.
Parliament has often been criticized for the level of scrutiny in its work in terms of awarding contracts and signing of agreements which most at times lack due diligence.
Speaking to Citi News, Ibrahim-Tanko Amidu underscored the need for such an office adding that its establishment will be of immense benefits to the country.
“We have seen and heard of complex contract agreements passed within a day and you wonder how many of the MPs are actually able to understand what is going on. Other Parliaments have what they call the scrutiny offices which are staffed by professionals. So if there was a contract on oil and gas, they bring experts in that sector who will offer a technical opinion to the government which will be the basis for the contract. This is not done in our Parliament because we do not have scrutiny offices.”
Ghana moves to establish office
Many have said that Parliament is not well equipped to independently assess budgetary data as the house lacks the backup support of professional economists and budget researchers readily available to the executive.
This is said to have made effective scrutiny of the budget and other policy measures a daunting task.
In 2013, the then Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe-Adjaho announced that Ghana was liaising with the United Kingdom House of Commons to establish an Office of Scrutiny.
At the time, he said such an office will engage in the provision of services for the conduct of independent expert analysis of policy measures, including the scrutiny of international loan agreement presented to parliamentarians.