MPs to be banned from using phones in Parliament

Parliament is set to ban legislators from bringing mobile phones into the House during proceedings.

According to Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the use of phones during proceedings is fast becoming a huge distraction to the business of the House.

Speaking in Parliament today, Thursday, March 5, 2020, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, the ban will be enforced as soon as the new Standing Orders of Parliament are approved.

“…We proposed that in the next Parliament, once we accept the review standards, no Member of Parliament will be allowed to bring a cell phone to the House. We need to demonstrate seriousness. When the President of the House is talking, members will be fidgeting with their phones.”

“When the Minister responsible for Finance comes here, members will be fidgeting with their phones. When Ministers are providing answers in the House, members will be fidgeting with their phones. It does not tell a good story about us,” Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu who is also the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs bemoaned.

Aside concerns over the use of phones by MPs in the House, the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Oquaye has on several occasions complained about MPs’ seeming apathy to the work of Parliament as they continue to absent themselves for sittings.

Ministers of State who double as Members of Parliament were the worst culprits of absenteeism without permission during the First and Second sittings of the Seventh Parliament, 2017.

The Ministers, including deputies, absented themselves from at least 15 sittings without the permission of the Speaker of Parliament.

This was contained in a report by Odekro; a civil society organization focused on activities of the legislature.

According to the report, the guilty MPs consisted of 18 Ministers and 21 Deputy Ministers.