Governance Analyst and Social Commentator, Mr. George Akom has recommended that the current state of our Parliament can be enhanced and improve citizens participation through digital transformation.
He continued that the use of modern technologies has significantly changed the dynamics and the methods involved in operationalizing Parliamentary activities and disseminating information to Members and to the general public.
He added that some of the Standing Orders of Parliament and in relationship with some Constitutional Provisions must be reviewed to cater for the interfacing of Information and Communication Technologies to enhance the activities of Parliament which could be described as “e-Parliament”.
He addressed that the activities of Parliament are very enormous and tedious at all stages, and the best approach in solving this to achieve effectiveness and efficiency is through digitization and digitalization of parliamentary activities and processes as part of its digital transformation agenda.
Mr. Akom iterated that the timely availability in preparing and providing the relevant information for Members of Parliament and the public has become essential for achieving greater parliamentary transparency, openness and accountability, as well as efficiency in the Law-Making process.
The systems and processes of receiving and disseminating information and accessing relevant materials for a thorough parliamentary work and citizen participation should also be a growing concern to the Government, Members of Parliament, Staff of Parliament and the general public.
He averred that operationally, digitization is the conversion of analog to digital, whereas digitalization is the use of digital technologies and digitized data to impact how work gets done, transform how institutions and constituents engage and interact, and create new ways of doing things.
Digitization refers to the internal optimization of processes such as work automation, paper minimization which result in cost reductions, whereas digitalization is a strategy or process that goes beyond just the implementation of technology, but to imply a deeper, core change to the entire institutional model and the evolution of work. Digital transformation on the other hand is more about people than it is about digital technology which requires institutional changes that are specific – driven, backed by leadership, by radically enforcing institutional culture, and the leveraging of technologies that becomes enabler to provide better services.
He emphasized again that with the “e-Parliamentary System”, it could transform how the House performs its business thereby empowering Members of Parliament (MP’s) to file queries online and set up a speedy and paperless flow of information between Parliament and the executive arm of government and provide additional support to upload Parliament’s order papers, hansard, vote online, improve procedures and eliminate business papers.
He stated that the use of modern technologies for e-Parliament could bring ubiquity to provide synchronous and asynchronous platforms as proper means to offer time and place shift to help Members of Parliament and citizens to participate in parliamentary activities and access information via installed monitors in the chamber or from remote locations.
Mr. George Akom who is an Assistant Registrar at the Ghana Communication Technology, Kumasi opined that e-parliament has the potential of boosting citizens participation in the democratic governance which can serve as catalyst for facilitating openness, efficient public service delivery, social inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and citizens’ participation in public decision process, and therefore must be embraced by the legislature and the government.