April 2, 2020
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Speaker of Parliament, Hon.Dr. Abass C. Bundu, has warned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that they should desist from implementing certain sections of statutory instruments that have not reached maturity and have not been approved by the House.
He said statutory instruments are only matured into law within 21 days after being laid on the table of the House of Parliament, but stated that “It has come to the notice of this House that some MDAs are in the habit of implementing provisions of regulations before they are matured into law”.
“The mere act of laying them on the table is the beginning of their journey to becoming law. We need an expiration of 21 days before they mature into law provided no motion is passed in this house by votes of two-thirds calling for the annulment of the statutory instrument. I hope we shall not have a repetition of that nature anymore going forward,” he said.
He indicated that it has also come to their notice that Boards and similar statutory bodies have been authenticating statutory instruments and seeking to bring them before parliament.
He said the correct procedure that should be taken note of based on principles is that the Executive or members of the Executive are answerable and accountable to parliament, hence no board chairman will ever receive the locust to lay any paper on the table of parliament.
He, however, noted that head of MDAs are not directly accountable to Parliament, but do so through the minister responsible for their agencies.
“So, it is simple and straightforward and easier for all concerned that their functions should stop, especially if a statutory instrument is one that contains technical considerations. It stops with the drafting of that instrument and after drafting, it should be submitted to the responsible minister for authentication and it is the responsibility of that minister to authenticate, publish it in the gazette and lay before this House such instrument,” he emphasized.
He urged that with such explanation, MDAs will not keep repeating mistakes that have been done over and over again, adding that ‘I will ask that the clerk convey this ruling to all MDAs for their clear understanding with the position of Parliament on statutory instruments and their laying’’.