By the last adjournment date, the House of Parliament resumes sittings tomorrow after months of recess. In this resumption, the Legislative House would have to complete a number of fundamental tasks before MPs go for another recess in December.
The House will debate and approve the 2023 Financial Year Budget together with the Finance Act, other bills and constitutional instruments.
Since its inception on the 25th May 2018, the Fifth Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has held a total of 246 plenary sittings and 288 Committee Meetings. During those engagements, the House enacted into law 52 bills and approved 55 Statutory and Constitutional instruments, 139 Loans and Agreements, and ratified 51 Protocols Conventions and Treaties. A total of 98 Committee and delegation reports have also been tabled in the House.
During those activities, Sierra Leone’s Legislative House has received international commendation for its openness. Notably, in July, the Open Parliamentary Index assessment, launched by the Parliamentary Network Africa ranked Sierra Leone as overall 3rd performing Parliament with a score of 57.97 points amongst other parliaments in Africa.
But local reports have pointed at key downsides of the country’s law making body, hitting on MPs notorious absenteeism and lateness for Parliamentary sittings.
The report pointed out that the Fifth Parliament is weak in performing its oversight functions, particularly in monitoring the expenditure of public finances. And some MPs have also in the past, blown a whistle about the House being corrupt.
Couple of months ago, the Institute of Governance Reforms (IGR), a think tank civil society organization reported poor oversight function by Parliamentary oversight committees as one of the issues reappearing in six audits reports reviewed by the organization.
In November last year, a report published by three consortiums of civil society groups also pointed at weakness in Parliament in times of monitoring effective use of Donor Aid financing in the country.
The hung Parliament is having its fifth and last session opened by the President on the 10th May this year.