Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, has asked members of the Parliamentary Friendship Associations (PFA) to work effectively to project the positive image of Ghana.

He urged the Associations to ensure that their actions led to the development of synergies to complement the effort of government and boost bilateral relations with partner states.

Prof Oquaye’s advice was read on his behalf by Mr Joseph Osei Owusu, First Deputy Speaker, at the inauguration of the Management Committee of the PFA in Parliament House.

The PFA seeks to provide the requisite framework to guide the activities of the Friendship Associations.

The nine-member Management Committee include Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, Mr Klutse Aveji, Mr Matthew Nyindam, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim and Mr Patrick Boamah.

The rest are Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chereh and Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie.

Prof Oquaye said the objective for establishing the Management Committee was to re-align and regularise the performance of the association and expand the frontiers of the engagement of association in-line with the national agenda of Ghana.

He said the PFA offered useful flexible mechanism for deepening inter-parliamentary relations and co-operation for positive outcomes.

He said the Association also offered the platform for sharing of important information and best practices that made Parliament more proactive to the people.

Prof Oquaye also explained that the PFA exists in many of the parliamentary jurisdictions across the world.

He said the PFA would primarily engage in the exchange of information with other parliaments.

He said some of the prescribed functions and roles of the PFA were being performed at informal levels by some members with special interest.

Prof Oquaye charged the PFA to follow the path of some of the best practices.

He said it was expected that PFA would serve as the vital point of contact and exchanges between law makers across parliamentary jurisdiction.

He said members of the Associations share their experiences through informal dialogue, business and sector specific conferences, influence the legislative and policy deliberations on the floor of Parliament.

Prof Oquaye also stated that some of the challenges PFA had faced was funding which he said often threatened their sustainability.

He therefore pledged with the support of the Parliamentary Service Board to ensure that adequate budgetary allocation was made available for the activities of the Committee.

He said though the Parliamentary Service Board would prevent members from sourcing for funds however they must adhere to the financial regulation of the House.

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader commended some past and present MPs for their commitment to establish and nurture the PFA.

He said the various forms of parliamentary diplomacy created the enabling platform for sharing experiences and best practices.

He said parliamentary diplomacy should therefore be seen as a complementary tool to the traditional diplomacy reserved for the Executive and the Diplomatic Corps.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader commended Prof Oquaye for continuing the programme, which started under the former Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho by working to formalise the processes and procedures for the establishment of the Management Committee.

He said the Committee and the parliamentary groups had the responsibility to foster a stronger partnership and relationship between Parliament and other friendly countries.

He said MPs would be playing new additional role as ambassadors of Parliament.

He said it had been the sole prerogative of the Executive to exercise the right and power of foreign policy.

Mr Iddrisu also stated that some the benefits of the parliamentary groups were to help MPs to learn about other cultures and their way of life.

He said through these Associations the MPs were able to learn how MPs in other democracies were able to exercise their mandate.

GNA