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Public Universities Bill likely to suffer same delay as other controversial bills – Sammy Obeng

Executive Director of Parliamentary Network Africa, Sammy Obeng says the Public Universities Bill which has been tabled in Parliament is likely to experience delays similar to those faced by other controversial bills.

These bills include the Right To Information Act 989 (2019) and the Affirmative Action Bill.

His comment follows concerns that Parliament is eager to have the bill passed amidst the coronavirus pandemic, without taking into account concerns raised by the public.

But Sammy Obeng says the citizenry has a right to participate in the debate, making it unlikely that the Bill would be passed this year.

“Our experiences over the years show that draft legislation that has controversy, that has many interest groups and all of that, it usually takes a long time.

“Article 106, 14 of Ghana’s constitution actually states that a bill introduced in parliament by or on behalf of the President shall not be delayed for more than three months in any committee of parliament.

“Unfortunately, I don’t really see this particular provision in the constitution ever being complied with and so it’ll be difficult to actually say when this bill will actually take its full course.”

He explained that along with the many referrals the Education Committee has to deal with, there remains the looming uncertainty of what Covid-19 presents for the future. It will, therefore, be difficult to determine when the Bill may actually be passed.

Also, since this is the last year for Members of Parliament of the 7th Parliament, it is further unlikely to tell whether the Public University Bill will be passed because once the year ends, “parliament expires and expires with the processes that it initiated.” Thus, a new parliament would have to restart the process all over again.

“Our Parliamentary processes allow for some level of urgency and also allow for some bills to be taken through processes to be delivered in a short period of time.”

“But this is not one of the bills that are going through the short-haul. It is expected to go through the full haul,” he added.

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