Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Peter Katjavivi together with members of parliament, Hon. Emma Muteka and Hon. Lucia Witbooi officiated the launch of the Namibia e-Parliament Strategy on Thursday, 15 December 2022.
The strategy is aimed at accelerating efficiency within the operation of parliament and in its interaction with stakeholders.
Katjavivi said the e-Parliament initiative is an extension of the Agenda for Change on policy reform conceptualized under the leadership of the first Speaker of the National Assembly of independent Namibia, Hon. Dr. Mosé Penaani Tjitendero and was further reinforced and championed by the second Speaker, Hon. Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab.
“The current leadership of Parliament has further reviewed this policy document and, through drawing lessons from the challenges presented by the COVID 19 Pandemic, plans to implement an e-Parliament infrastructure to improve the parliamentary process, and capacity to fulfill its core functions efficiently and effectively,” he said.
He added that the strategy will improve the productivity of law-making, representation, and oversight.
Furthermore, the strategy seeks to enable MPs to have easy access to a wide range of information and knowledge resources in order to make informed decisions e.g. access to parliamentary committee reports online, tracking tools to monitor all legislation in the enactment process and web based equipped Parliament Library; equip Parliamentary Standing Committees with appropriate technology to undertake public hearings.
Through the implementation of the strategy, Parliament will develop interactive websites and other collaborative tools to enhance interaction between MPs and the citizenry as well as information systems and databases that will enable MPs to directly track and monitor national budgets, major development projects and Namibia’s contractual obligations.
Katjavivi said through the strategy, Parliament also plans to enhance specific institutional pillars that align with the effective use of e-Parliament systems, specifically, by establishing and operating a strong Parliamentary budget office with key personnel whose duty will be to serve as a key advisory unit for the joint Parliamentary budget committee, strengthening the children’s Parliament and Junior National Council, revamping the Parliament library, and finally, capacity building for Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff.