The Parliament of Ghana is the legislative body of the Government of Ghana. It is well known that Parliament’s basic function is law making. However, a number of functions are incidental to the performance of this function. Among others, the following can be clearly identified as functions performed by the Parliament of Ghana.
FUNCTIONS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF GHANA
Law-making is considered to be the most important function of Parliament. Under article 93(2) of the Constitution, the legislative power of Ghana is vested in Parliament and is exercised in accordance with the Constitution.
No person or body other than Parliament has the power to pass any measure with the force of law except by or under the authority conferred by an Act of Parliament.
The legislative function consists of passing Bills and scrutinizing statutory instruments and deciding whether to annul them or allow them to take effect by the effluxion of time.
Chapter Thirteen of the 1992 Constitution variously, vests the control of all public funds (power of the public purse) in Parliament.
Oversight of the Executive Branch
As the embodiment of the sovereign will of the people of Ghana, Parliament exercises oversight of the Executive.
Parliament keeps a watch over the performance of the Executive, which controls the public services, to ensure that the implementation of public policy conforms to the approved developmental agenda of the state and expenditure incurred is in accordance with parliamentary authorisations.
In the execution of its functions, the House undertakes deliberations through debate on matters before it. More specifically, however, the deliberative function of Parliament enables it to debate an array of policy issues some of which result in the passage of resolutions.
Deliberations may throw light on underlying tensions in society and help to foster consensus, compromise and reconciliation.
The deliberative function is exercised mainly through the mechanism of Statements, Motions, Questions, and Ceremonial Speeches etc.
SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA
The Speaker is the first officer of the House. He/she is one of the three highest officers of the State, ranking third in the offical order of precedence after the President and the Vice President.
The office of the Speaker was first created in the then Gold Coast, under the Gold Coast (Constitution) Order in Council, 1950. Since then all Constitutions of the land have provided for the election of the Speaker of the Legislature.
The Fourth Republic Constitution provides that the Speaker shall preside in Parliament at all Sittings and in his/her absence, a Deputy Speaker.
In the discharge of his/her numerous responsibilities and in the exercise of the powers vested in him/her, the Speaker is expected to be impartial and does not take part in debate on the floor of the House.
Behind the scenes, he/she exercises considerable influence in forging consensus on major issues, while fairly and firmly enforcing order and consistently applying the established practices of the House.
As head of the Parliamentary Institution and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Service Board, the Speaker has ultimate responsibility for the Service.
The Parliament of Ghana from 1949 to date had 13 speakers of Parliament.
WHO IS THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT ?
The Current Speaker of the 8th Parliament in Ghana is Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.
The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament in Ghana is Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament in Ghana is Hon. Andrew Asiamah Amoako.
WHO IS THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT OF GHANA?
The Clerk to Parliament of Ghana is the principal advisor to the Speaker and Members on matters of privilege, practice and procedure.
HOW MANY SEATS ARE IN PARLIAMENT OF GHANA
There are 275 Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent the interests and concerns of Ghanaians in Parliament.
PARTY REPRESENTATION/MPs IN PARLIAMENT
New Patriotic Party (NPP) – 137 Members of Parliament
National Democratic Congress (NDC) – 137 Members of Parliament
Independent Candidate(s) – 1 Member of Parliament
Total – 275
On December 20, 2021, some MPs were engaged in a fight during a headcount on whether or not to accept the E-levy bill under a certificate of urgency. Following this development, Parliament reconvened the next morning, amidst tight security presence. The house then resolved to go on a break and resume on January 18.
The stages of law making in Ghana
The stages of law making in Ghana are as follows;
1. A bill or a proposal is read to Parliament by the clark of Parliament.
2. The speaker refers the bill to an appropriate committee to study and make recommendations.
3. The committee presents the bill to Parliament to study.
4. A motion is tabled in the house (Parliament) for the bill to be read for the second time.
5. The bill is the debated and voted on.
6. Changes are made at the consideration stage through a thorough discussion
7. The bill is then approved or rejected by a simple majority
8. The bill is then written in a legal language by the Attorney General’s Department.
9. The bill is sent to the president of the country to sign then it becomes a law.
10. The law is then gazetted or documented.