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Speaker calls for ICT integration in Parliaments

Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi participates in the general debate at the 139th IPU General Assembly

 

  Story by George Sanzila

Geneva, Switzerland - Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi has lauded information and communication technology (ICT) noting that it was essential in supporting and promoting the work of the legislature. According to Hon. Katjavivi, ICT comes with infinite opportunities that should be exploited by parliament in its quest to extensively engage the electorate.

Hon. Katjavivi made these remarks yesterday when he was contributing to the debate “Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change” at the 139th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Assembly underway in Geneva, Switzerland.

Hon. Katjavivi noted that the Namibian Parliament has already made great strides in this regard and has been working relentlessly to transform into a complete paperless institution, colloquially referred to as e-parliament. “The Namibian parliament is making great strides in embracing ICT as tools of trade. We are making effort to promote a paperless parliament through pathways that could enhance e- library as well as e-governance. We recently cemented ties with the Finnish parliament and they have agreed to help in the transformation”, said Katjavivi.

 

The Speaker told delegates at the event that ICT has further improved information access and dissemination and lawmakers are now empowered and are able to analyse and debate appropriation bills with much ease.

“On the subject of abusive use of technology for harmful purposes, we recently adopted a policy on social media use and communication that seeks to guide information dissemination and social media use within government and the public at large. It is meant to foster a culture of participation and interaction with the public on crucial issues of development in our country”, noted the Speaker.

He said the Namibian parliament was keen to enact legislation and policies aimed at enhancing scientific research, innovation and technology to improve the livelihood of citizens and in pursuance of the AU Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Innovation and technological advancement are very important to enable the country to add value to its natural resources so as to create jobs and better the welfare of our citizens”, stressed Katjavivi.

Hon. Katjavivi was further gratified by a tribute paid by the World Parliamentary body on the passing of former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Theo Ben Gurirab who once served as President of the IPU Assembly. “I would like to thank the President of IPU for the message of condolence on the passing of our former Speaker and also a minute of silence that was observed today in honour of Dr. Gurirab”, said Katjavivi.

Namibia is represented at the event by Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah -Williams and other lawmakers, Elma Dienda, Heather Sibungo, Fillipus Katamelo and Johannes Nangolo, from both houses of Parliament.

The IPU Assembly is a global organization of Parliaments around the world that brings together lawmakers to identify international challenges and make recommendations for action. There are currently 173 members and 11 associate members of the IPU and Namibia comprises this composition. The IPU General Assembly ends on the 18th of October 2018.

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