30 Nov 2018 10:10am
WINDHOEK, 30 NOV (NAMPA) The National Assembly (NA)s Seventh Session of the Sixth Parliament on Thursday concluded its business for 2018, passing a total of 20 Bills in the process.
It will resume on 12 February 2019.
As the NA closed what Members of Parliament (MPs) referred to as a busy year, concerns over the efficiency of the House still linger on the minds of certain quarters, both in the public domain and in the August House.
However, its Speaker, Peter Katjavivi, when quizzed by Nampa on Thursday shortly after delivering his last statement to parliamentarians, was adamant that they did their best and that criticism towards them were somewhat unjustified.
Concerns and critics to the legislative body include among others poor attendance by members; credibility of their asset declaration; influence of the executive; majority members towing party lines instead of thinking freely and ineffective committees.
Katjavivi also came under heavy criticism from fellow MPs during the year for allegedly not standing up for the interests of Parliament.
This was in reference to parliamentary standing committees budget that was slashed from N.dollars 14 million in the 2015/16 financial year to N.dollars 5 million in the current financial year.
While acknowledging that the NA was equally affected by the unfavourable economic times, the Speaker made it clear that he has the interest of Parliament at heart.
The budget for our parliamentary committees should never be touched. We should have sufficient resources to make sure that Parliament through its various committees is able to carry out its work, he asserted.
On the perennial poor attendance of parliamentary sessions by some MPs, Katjavivi noted that there is always a justified reason for an MPs no show.
Of course, they are supposed to be here. But every now and then, some of them might have commitments, hence their absence, he said, before stressing that the Namibian Parliament should not be judged in isolation.
Overall, what is of critical importance is the need for us to have a quorum to commence the activities of the House. But now and then, when we have a particular Bill, or something that must be passed with the necessary majority, then it is up to the whips to make sure that on that particular day, we have a quorum, he explained.
Among the notable Bills passed this year are the Microlending Bill; Basic Education Bill; Public Enterprises Governance Bill; Criminal Procedure Act Repeal Bill and the Public Service Amendment Bill.