The Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye has called on the academia and think-tanks in Ghana to support Members of Parliament (MPs) with their research evidence and information to enable them to deliver on their mandate.
According to him, parliamentarians are “lovers” of scientific works and research publications and for that matter are open to evidence information.
Prof Oquaye whose statement was read by the Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Alban Bagbin made the call at the opening of this year’s Africa Evidence Week celebration in Accra.
The three-day conference is on the theme: “Showcasing the state of evidence use on the continent”.
The event is a collaboration between PACK Africa, an NGO and the Inter-Departmental Research and Information Group (IDRIG) of the Parliament of Ghana.
The conference is being attended by participants from Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organisations as well as staff of the Parliamentary Service.
Prof Oquaye also stated Parliaments and other public institutions around the world were confronted with increasing public demand that outcomes of policy deliberations or legislation by their representatives are well informed by time tested evidence.
He said the essence of the demand by the public is to have legislations and state policies to be more inclined to their needs and aspirations.
Prof Oquaye also maintained that evidence is a critical ingredient for effective delivery of parliament’s core function.
He said the members of legislature required research support in a form that is appropriate for their work.
He said the MPs needed access to timely, up-to-date accurate and well-resourced information in order to properly perform their constitutional mandated duties.
Prof Oquaye further stated that better access to information and research could help empower legislatures to formulate and pass effective legislation and perform effective scrutiny of government.
He said political arguments became richer and better because MPs received up-to-date information through those departments.
Chairperson of the IDRIG, Gloria Insaidoo, in her remark observed that the essence of the celebration was to showcase how information and research evidence was being used to inform decision- making to shape policy formulation.
She emphasised that parliament required more knowledge and information if it must play an active and significant role in the discharge of its constitutional mandates.
She said Parliament was a House of records, and therefore any statement made by any member on the floor of the House was recorded in the Hansard for posterity.
“Therefore to avoid storing irresponsible and untruth statements made on the floor of the House, every statement made by any member, or information provided to the House must be backed by evidence from an authentic source” she added.
Mrs Insaidoo also stated that the ability of the legislature to perform its constitutionally mandated function effectively was largely dependent on its access to authoritative and reliable information.
She said Parliament and members required research support in a form that was appropriate for their work.
Mr Kirchufs Atengbie, Executive Director of Packs Africa in his remarks assured that his organisation would continue to collaborate with parliament on evidence informed policy making.
He said the African Evidence Network was also providing opportunities for capacity building to other governmental organisations to enable them discharge their mandate.