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Clerk of parliament meets development partners

Clerk of parliament meets development partners

The Parliamentary Assistance Coordinating Office (PACO) has on Thursday 26th January 2012 held a meeting with development partners at the Parliament Conference Hall in Freetown.

Addressing partners, the new Clerk of Parliament, Ibrahim Sesay said Parliament is an institution that cannot move by itself, and added that when given the opportunity and capacity it can even enable MPs to come up with Private Member Motions and not solely depend on the Executive to always come up will theirs.

He noted that Parliament as a Commission has lots of challenges that boils down on structure and finance. The Clerk commended the fact that the motion moved by President Koroma when he was in Opposition to enable Parliament become independent in handling it finances, is now been implemented.

“We want to have a close link between my office and development partners. My office is always open to development partners that have Parliament at heart,” Mr. Sesay said, and added that even though they have employed professional staffs to boost Parliament Operations, they are still encountering the problem of employing Directors of Finance and Human Resources. These he recognized as key positions that require a huge amount of finance.

The Clerk admonished partners to be visiting Parliament from time to time to see some of their supported programs.

He informed the meeting that Parliament will be dissolved in September 2012 for the elections. “We have new Members of Parliament coming in. they need capacity building and other support that will improve on their capacity in the House,” says the Clerk, and further reiterated the fact that they want to equip the new Members of Parliament on their oversight responsibilities and enable them develop constituency outreach programs.

Representatives from International Organizations like UNAIDS, IOM, EU, DfID, UNFPA and UNICEF gave updates on their past and present supported development programs in Parliament. They were able to identify key resolutions, such as training programs should not be based on Members of Parliament alone but also other members of staff. Also, development partners should be looking at the Parliament calendar of activities so as to avoid duplication of programs. A representative from DfID pointed out that Parliament should not solely depend on development partners for support, but that they must tap on the increase national revenue to upkeep their operations.

The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Mohamed Lebbie.

By Fadda Bakish

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