• August 17th, 2019
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Parliaments should embrace ICT – Professor Katjavivi

George Sanzila

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi has lauded information and communication technology (ICT) noting that it was essential in supporting and promoting the work of the legislature. 
According to Katjavivi, ICT comes with infinite opportunities that should be exploited by parliament in its quest to extensively engage the electorate.

Katjavivi made the remarks yesterday when he contributed to the debate, “Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change”, at the 139th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly underway in Geneva, Switzerland.

Katjavivi noted the Namibian Parliament has already made great strides in this regard and has been working relentlessly to be transformed into a complete paperless institution, colloquially referred to as e-parliament. 

“The Namibian parliament is making great strides in embracing ICT as tools of trade. We are making effort to promote a paperless parliament through pathways that could enhance e-library as well as e-governance. We recently cemented ties with the Finnish parliament and they have agreed to help in the transformation,” said the Namibian Speaker of the National Assembly.

The Speaker told delegates at the event that ICT has further improved information access and dissemination and lawmakers are now empowered and are able to analyse and debate appropriation bills with much ease.

Despite the splendor associated with ICT however, Katjavivi bemoaned increasing cyber-crimes that are becoming a global threat, adding that Namibia has enacted legislation that is meant to tackle such challenges. He further said government took cognisance of the importance of ICT, hence the introduction of a policy that seeks to guide information dissemination and social media use within government. 

“On the subject of abusive use of technology for harmful purposes, we recently adopted a policy on social media use and communication that seeks to guide information dissemination and social media use within government and the public at large. It is meant to foster a culture of participation and interaction with the public on crucial issues of development in our country,” he stated.

He said the Namibian parliament was keen to enact legislation and policies aimed at enhancing scientific research, innovation and technology to improve the livelihood of citizens and in pursuance of the AU Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“Innovation and technological advancement are very important to enable the country to add value to its natural resources so as to create jobs and better the welfare of our citizens,” stressed Katjavivi.

Katjavivi was further gratified by a tribute paid by the World Parliamentary body on the passing of former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo Ben Gurirab who once served as President of the IPU Assembly. 
“I would like to thank the President of IPU for the message of condolence on the passing of our former Speaker and also a minute of silence that was observed today in honour of Dr Gurirab,” said Katjavivi.

Official proceedings of the 139th IPU Assembly began on Sunday (14/10/18). Other issues enjoying attention at the gathering of the world’s parliaments include the role of fair and free trade and investment in achieving the SDGs, migration, innovation and the fight against sexism and harassment among many others. Apart from the Speaker, Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah-Williams and other lawmakers, Elma Dienda, Heather Sibungo, Fillipus Katamelo and Johannes Nangolo, represents Namibia at the event from both houses of Parliament.

The IPU Assembly is a global organization of Parliaments around the world that brings together lawmakers to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action. There are currently 173 members and 11 associate members of the IPU and Namibia comprises this composition. 
The IPU General Assembly ends on the 18th of October 2018.

New Era Reporter
2018-10-16 09:06:10 10 months ago

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