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Key highlights ahead of opening of Parliament

Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi highlighting some of the successes of the National Assembly during a press briefing today

 

 

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi highlighted some of the achievements of the National Assembly and reminded the public about the mandate of the legislature during a press briefing today ahead of the official opening of Parliament on Wednesday. The official opening signals the resumption of business for Members of Parliament. This year’s Parliament session is centered on the theme “Promoting Integrity, Professionalism”.

Hon. Katjavivi reiterated some of the functions of the legislature such as the oversight function and the role Parliament plays in participatory democracy. He noted that in 2018 several Parliamentary Committees undertook visits to the regions to investigate government projects and to conduct public hearings on pertinent issues such as gender based violence and teenage pregnancies as part of the oversight function.

Government owned entities such as Air Namibia, TransNamib and Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund were also probed. Some of the reports emanating from these undertakings have been tabled for further consideration said Katajvivi.

 

The Speaker noted that Parliament also continues to participate in regional and international bodies as part of the global community. Some of these bodies include the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the International Parliamentary Union (IPU).

He also used the occasion to announce the arrival of a bus donated by China to the Parliament of Namibia for use in the latter’s outreach and oversight functions. The bus is likely to be unveiled shortly after the opening of Parliament.

Another area of importance to Hon. Katjavivi is transforming the Namibian Parliament into a paperless institution. He noted that the National Assembly will start digitizing its operations from this year. Katjavivi noted that Finland has already pledged to work together with the Namibian Parliament in digitizing the institution. The two Parliaments formed a friendship group when then Finnish Speaker Maria Lohela reciprocated and visited the Namibian Parliament in 2018, after Katjavivi’s visit to Finland a year earlier.

Katjavivi also hailed the summarization of bills for ease of understanding for Members of Parliament as having played a critical role in increasing the participation and active involvement of lawmakers in last year’s session. The National Assembly further launched its strategic plan, which Katjavivi described as an important tool for directing the institution. “In September we launched a strategic plan. This is an important tool for us to be able to focus on our mandate and fulfill our obligation as elected representatives of the people”, said the Speaker.

Over 20 bills were tabled and passed last year with 16 motions tabled and six adopted. Bills such the Divorce Bill, Combating of Rape Amendment Act, Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority Bill and the Electronic Transactions Bill, forms part of over 16 bills lined up to be tabled during this year’s session.

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