The National Assembly (NASS) is to introduce electronic-Hansard in parliamentary procedures in the first quarter of 2021.
Mr Ojo Amos, Clerk to the National Assembly made this known on Friday at the opening of a two-day retreat for top management staff of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).
The retreat themed “Issues, Challenges and Prospects in Legislative Bureaucracy’’ was organised by the National Assembly in partnership with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) as well as National Institute of Legislative Development Studies (NILDS).
Amos said the e-Hansard is the record of debates of the Parliament. He hinted that the focus on the e-Hansard was to drastically reduce the volume of paper works in parliamentary activities.
He said the e-governance parliamentary technology would be very convenient for legislators and watchers of National Assembly in Nigeria and everywhere stressing “You will agree with me that e-Hansard is a most veritable tool in our e-parliament agenda.”
While commending the management of the 9th Assembly for according priority to digitalisation and provision of ICT materials in parliamentary business, he posits that the building of legislative specialists to effectively man the process of law making can never be overemphasised.
The Clerk as well used the opportunity to inform the gathering that given the recent challenges faced by retirees of NASS on pension contributions, NASS management was canvassing for establishment of a National Assembly Pension Board (NAPB).
He said the absolute well-being and happiness of NASS staff was paramount, noting that the need to make a success of the nation’s democratic project was not negotiable.
Amos said one of the real challenges of the management in parliamentary business was to develop the capacity of all relevant staff and that of legislators to be at par with what was obtainable in other parliamentary democracies across the world.
He, however, noted that capacity enhancement of staff has been a priority, believing that parliamentary democracy was meaningless without adequate training and re-training of relevant staff.
Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, Director General of NILDS in his remark said NILDS was founded to respond to obvious legislative, institutional and capacity gaps occasioned by the long years of military rule in the country.
He said since assumption of office, the institute has made collaborations with NASS and NASC a priority.
Abubakar drop specifics, NILDS had introduced Post-Graduate Programmes since 2013 in affiliation with University of Benin in parliamentary administration, legislative drafting of bills and motions, legislative studies, bills analysis, elections and party politics, among other courses.
In addition, training which according to him, earlier in the year, the institute with the support of NASC organised training for 300 new legislative aides on fundamentals of legislative proceedings.
He mentioned beneficiaries of the programme to include among others, legislative aids, lawmakers, clerks of committees, officials of the Ministry of Justice, stressing that the programme was helping to strengthen capacity of staff of the National Assembly.
He said the institute would continue to provide capacity training for both staff and legislative aides in parliamentary business.