The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has said democracy must improve the quality of lives and meet the hopes and aspirations of citizens.
To help actualize this necessity, he said the legislature must add value to interventions targeted at improving the lot of the citizenry, and not the reverse.
The Speaker made the remarks when the Qatari Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Mohammed Ahmed Al Homid called on him at the Parliament House in Accra.
The Speaker also held a separate meeting with the Indonesian Consular in Ghana, H.E. Pascal Rois.
Both visits were aimed at exploring ways of strengthening relations between Ghana and the respective countries.
It was also to understand the dynamics at play in parliament considering the composition of the House.
In reference to the current composition of the House, Rt. Hon. Bagbin said: “there is the need for all of us, myself inclusive, to break this jinx, so that Ghana’s parliament can return to the days of consultation, dialogue and consensus building.”
He was of the view that “the culture of give and take” must be encouraged, since that is the only way the country can mitigate the current political tensions.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker said the quality of a country’s human resource and the strength of its institutions mattered most, when it comes to democracy. He commended the leaders of Qatar for persisting in investing in their people and building their own systems of governance and administration, irrespective of their strong relationship with western countries.
He was concerned about avenues for development, especially for women, who are financially challenged and said, “Our countries cannot be fully developed, if focus and priority is only given to men, whilst women are still largely without similar opportunities to improve upon themselves.” For example, he said, out of the 275 parliamentarians in Ghana’s parliament, the females are only 40, representing 14.5%, which is inadequate.
He called for a stronger relationship between Ghana and Qatar to create more employment opportunities for the citizens of both countries, whilst supporting Ghana to strengthen the caliber of her human resources, through partnership in education and other capacity building interventions.
The Qatari Ambassador said Ghana and Qatar share common values when it comes to democracy, particularly the role of parliament in that. Besides, he said, the two countries are committed to, not only strengthening parliament, but also strengthening the relations among parliamentary institutions under the banner of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).
H.E. Al Homid said apart from education, the energy sector, trade and commerce are areas where the two countries can collaborate. Ahead of Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2023, the envoy wished Ghana well in the upcoming qualifiers with Nigeria and extended a welcoming hand to all Ghanaians, especially football enthusiasts to visit Qatar to watch the World Cup Tournament.
The Indonesian delegation, led by the Consular H.E Pascal Rois, and their team from parliament discussed capacity building exchange programmes between Ghana and Indonesia, and scholarship programmes in Indonesia that Ghanaians can take advantage of. There was a request to Ghana to waive visa requirements for Indonesian businessmen who want to explore opportunities in Ghana to help improve upon trade and commerce between the two countries.