By: Alieu Jallow
The National Assembly Standing Orders Committee with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Friday 6th November 2020, began a three day Session with Permanent Secretaries from Ministries, Assembly Focal Persons and Heads of Departments on Processes and Procedures (Standing Orders) of the National Assembly.
The forum being held at a local hotel in Kololi is geared towards engaging Permanent Secretaries and Senior Government Officials to understand the new rules of Procedure of the Assembly as a guiding document for their businesses before the National Assembly.
The Clerk of the Assembly, Momodou A. Sise, said Government officials need to be engaged to enable effectively understanding of rules and procedures of the National Assembly to ensure that they do act according to the standards of the Legislature and to avoid unnecessary hitches in their respective businesses brought before the Assembly for consideration.
Clerk Sise added that, with the increased of knowledge of Government on the Standing Orders, there will be effective collaboration and smooth working relationship between the three organs of the State, especially the Executive and Legislature as key players in the Assembly process.
Honourable Sidia Jatta member for Wuli West and Chairperson of the Committee on Standing Order reminded the Permanent Secretaries that when the fifth Legislature came into being, the age and condition of the previous Standing Orders [2001 Edition] of the National Assembly of The Gambia was found to be a significant barrier to the efficient and effective operation of the National Assembly as a modern Parliament in the new Gambia.
Chairperson Jatta noted that it was for this reason that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association-UK (CPA-UK) and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) jointly undertook an evaluation of the administration and procedures of the National Assembly of The Gambia in May 2018. The evaluation exercise he said revealed the urgent and clear need for a review of the previous Standing Orders (2001 edition).
“Therefore, it was agreed with the CPA-UK that, alongside a team of National Assembly Clerks and UK Clerks (Working Group), the National Assembly will review its Standing Orders (2001 Edition) and develop new Standing Orders that will serve the purpose of the National Assembly in the new Gambia”, Jatta emphasised.
The member for Wuli West concluded that Permanent Secretaries should endeavour to understand the Standing Orders to enhance the conduct of Legislative business in their respective Ministries.