Lahja Nashuuta Windhoek-Despite having been very vocal on numerous occasions about his dissatisfaction with the regular absence of some parliamentarians in the august house, Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi last week expressed his satisfaction with the overall performance of parliament in 2017. New Era established that MPs ratified about 25 bills in 2017, of which 15 were signed into law. But Katjavivi maintained the number of enacted bills might be more than 15 as some of the outstanding bills were approved by President Hage Geingob during the holidays. “The remaining bills were returned to me from the National Council while I was in Swakopmund and I signed them, after which they were also signed by the president,” Katjavivi said. Based on the information provided by the Ministry of Justice government gazette officer, Elmoreyn Hanabes, the acts recorded last year include: Appropriation Act, Access to Biological and Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Act, Nature Conservation Amendment Act, Public Private Partnership Act and Namibia Special Risk Insurance Association Act. Furthermore, some long overdue laws were finally gazetted. These include: Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Amendment Act, Regional Councils Amendment Act, One-stop Border Post Control Act, Namibian Time Act, Whistle-blower Protection Act, the Witness Protection Act, the Namibia Revenue Agency Act, the Lotteries Act, the Education Amendment Act as well as the Appropriation Amendment Act. However, bills such as the Regional Councils Amendment Bill, Local Authorities Amendment Bill, Usury Amendment Bill, Namibia Revenue Agency Bill, Property Valuers Profession Amendment Bill, Bill, Liquor Amendment Bill, Local Authorities Amendment Bill, Urban and Regional Planning Bill, and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, are yet to be enacted. Parliament chief liaison officer David Nahongandja confirmed that all bills tabled in parliament last year were ratified and referred to the Ministry of Justice to be gazetted in order to become laws. Nahongandja described law-making as a lengthy process through the National Assembly, National Council, public input, legal drafters and the president’s assent. “The role of parliament is to enact bills and once all parliamentarians agree and the National Council approves it, it will be sent for the president’s signature and once it is signed it will be sent to the Ministry of Justice so that it can be recorded into the government gazzete to became a law,” he said. He called on the public to be patient as all bills passed would soon be law. Politics and administrative studies lecturer at the University of Namibia, Dr Hoze Riruako, who concurred that Namibian law-making is an involved process, singled out the absence of parliamentarians at parliament as one of the main causes of the delays in law-making, adding that if parliamentarians do not attend parliamentary sessions, there would always be delays. However, he said there could be other contributing factors such as public consultation not being done on time, as well as the time frame required by the legal drafters and the National Council to go through the bills. “As you might notice in most cases our parliament has to be adjourned because there is no quorum and when there is no quorum it means there are not enough people to vote on the bill – and such practice causes delays in our law-making process,” Riruako said. He said it is therefore important that national leaders are educated on the importance of attending parliamentary sessions. Riruako said parliamentarians also need to plan well regarding public consultation as it also takes up a lot of time.
2018-01-22 08:58:45 7 months ago