NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – African Parliaments have been challenged to dedicate more resources to parliamentary research services, especially in exercising their role in the budget-making process.
Speaking during the inaugural Africa Parliamentary Research Conference, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi noted that research for legislative agenda cannot survive and thrive on a shoestring budget.
The Speaker further noted that strategic importance of research in modern legislatures plays a critical role in shaping parliamentary debates and in Legislatures cannot be underestimated especially in providing solutions for social, economic and political challenges that face the continent.
“The legislative process, for instance, is often driven by politics and stakes. Left unchallenged, this often leads to formulation of Bills, motions and statements that are not based on research evidence and which serve partisan interests. Therefore, time has come when parliamentary leadership should be compelled to dedicate more resources to their in-house research services for capacity enhancement towards building a pool of specialized research and policy analysts,” Muturi stated.
Addressing the forum, the Parliamentary Services Commission Vice-Chairperson Naomi Shaban underscored the timeliness of the four-day conference which has drawn participation from over 20 African Parliaments and a number of County Assemblies from within the country.
The Taveta MP urged for better financing and strengthening of Research Departments in Parliaments within and beyond Africa, noting that research is the backbone of successful legislation and effective policy formulation in Legislatures.
The participants are expected to share experiences on best practices on parliamentary research, as well as well as offer them an opportunity to interact with a pool of distinguished resource persons from among others, the European Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern Africa (OSSREA) and the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training.
The conference is the first of its kind in Africa, and is taking place at a time when Parliaments across the globe are embracing the reality that people-centeredness is the rallying approach to formulation, coordination and implementation of policies and legislation.
The objectives of the conference is to deliberate on the Place of Parliamentary research and its organizational model in African Parliaments, while promoting evidence-use in decision making in African Parliaments.