Abdoulai G. Dibba
The Members of the new National Assembly ended its adjournment debate on Tuesday April 24, 2017.
Before the commencement of the adjournment debate, the Speaker informed the Members that according to section 9(4) of the Standing Orders, on the completion of business at the last sitting of each meeting, the Majority Leader, or the Minority Leader or in their absence any other Member shall move a motion for the adjournment of the Assembly sine die.
She also reminded members that during the debate on the Motion on the Adjournment of the Assembly no Member shall speak for more than fifteen minutes except that the Speaker may at his or her discretion allow the mover of the motion extra time for his or her reply.
During the debate, National Assembly members highlighted the constraints confronting their electorate in their respective constituencies which range from poor roads, lack of water, poor health facilities, lack of farm inputs and implements, electricity, lack of medicines in health facilities and low salaries for civil servants.
In terms of amendments, the Members asserted that the issue of the appointment of Alkalolu, Seyfolu by the executive should be addressed; that the President should not use his power to remove or appoint Alkalolu; that the people in each village or town should be given the right to change or not to change their local leaders
It is also highlighted that the National Council for Civic Education be empowered to carry on civic education in a more protracted manner especially in relation to the roles of the National Assembly members; that it is not the role of members to build roads or other infrastructure or give money to people, etc.
Almost all members spoke on the need to have the Executive present in the Assembly especially during the adjournment debate so that they could appraise themselves with the issues raised by members.
It is also the view of some members that the government needs to come up with a programmatic policy document that would spell out the policy direction of government; that this will help members to know exactly how government intends to address the developmental challenges; that the Appropriation Bill has already been approved by the outgoing parliament but whether the present executive wants to pursue the Act or not is also not clear. So it would be better for them to know the policies so that members could know what is in store for each service sector so that they would know what to demand for their areas.
It was further highlighted that water is very crucial and the lack of it has affected all constituencies; that there should be conducive environment for NGOs to come in and operate where government could not do it.
Members raised concern for the Ministers to be present during adjournment debates even though they acknowledge the fact that they have power of a high court to call people and question them.
They also raised the issue of the illegal migration and the loss of life involved in it and called on the Government to look into the causes and address it.
The failure to appoint a vice president was raised by a member who asked whether the president is waiting for the amendment of section 62 of the constitution before appointing the holder of the office.
Members raised the health hazards the dumpsite close to the Mile Two is causing to prison inmates which was buttressed by former inmates.
Foroyaa will publish the contributions of Members.