By Kingsley Okoye
Abuja, Nov. 20, 2020 The National Assembly (NASS) is to introduce electronic-hansard in parliamentary procedures in the first quarter of 2021.
Mr Ojo Amos, Clerk to the NASS, made this known on Friday at the opening of a two-day retreat for top management staff of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).
Naija247news reports that the retreat, which has “Issues, Challenges and Prospects in Legislative Bureaucracy’’ as theme was organised by NASS in partnership with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC).
Another partner is the National Institute of Legislative Development Studies (NILDS).
Amos said the e-Hansard is the record of debates of the Parliament.
He said that the focus on the e-hansard was to drastically reduce the volume of paper works in parliamentary activities.
He said the e-governance parliamentary technology would be very convenient for legislators and watchers of National Assembly in Nigeria and everywhere.
“You will agree with me that e-hansard is a most veritable tool in our e-parliament agenda.”Amos said.
He said current management of NASS had made frantic efforts to give top priority to digitalisation and provision of ICT materials in parliamentary business.
According to him, the building of legislative specialists to effectively man the process of law making can never be overemphasised.
He also said the absolute well-being and happiness of NASS staff was paramount, noting that the need to make a success of the nation’s democratic project was not negotiable.
Amos said given the recent challenges faced by retirees of NASS on pension contributions, NASS management was canvassing for establishment of a National Assembly Pension Board (NAPB).
According to him, NAPB, if established would address challenges of its retiring staff.
Amos said one of the real challenges of the management in parliamentary business was to develop the capacity of all relevant staff and that of legislators to be at par with what was obtainable in other parliamentary democracies across the world.
He, however, noted that capacity enhancement of staff has been a priority, believing that parliamentary democracy was meaningless without adequate training and re-training of relevant staff.
Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, Director General of NILDS in his remarks said NILDS was founded to respond to obvious legislative institutional and capacity gaps occasioned by long years of military rule in the country.
He said since assumption of office, the institute had made collaborations with NASS and NASC a priority.
Abubakar said NILDS had introduced Post -Graduate Programmes since 2013 in affiliation with University of Benin in parliamentary administration, legislative drafting of bills and motions, legislative studies, bills analysis , elections and party politics, among other courses.
He said beneficiaries of the programme had been legislative aids, lawmakers, clerks of committees, officials of Ministry of Justice among others.
He said the programme was helping to strengthen capacity of staff of National Assembly.
According to him, earlier in the year, the institute with support of NASC organised training for 300 new legislative aides on fundamentals of legislative proceedings.
He said the institute would continue to provide capacity training for both staff and legislative aides in parliamentary business.