Functions of National Assembly

Functions of National Assembly

T

he National Assembly of the Gambia has three broad function: Lawmaking, Oversight and Representation

1. Lawmaking

Law making is “the process by which a parliament considers draft legislation and ultimately approves its final form.” In The Gambia, the legislative power is exercised through bills passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the president.

 The National Assembly of the Gambia though mostly rely on the government to develop, draft and present laws before its debate in the Assembly, they have role to review before passing including to recommend for amendments. The National Budget is one of the most significant laws reviewed and adopted by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly as per Section 100(2) is not allowed to pass a bill

  1. To establish one party state;
  2. To establish any religion as state religion; or
  3. To alter the decision or judgement f a court in any proceedings to the prejudice of any party to those proceedings, or deprive any person retroactively of vested or acquired rights, but subject thereto, the National Assembly may pass bills designed to have retroactive effects

2. Oversight

The National Assembly performs the role of oversight, “a process by which the parliament monitors the quality of the work of the government regarding implementation of the law, development plans and budgets that have been previously adopted by the parliament.”

Oversight is performed in different ways including through committee sittings, parliamentary question, visits among others.

3. Representation

In addition to lawmaking and oversight, the assembly members represent those that elected them. Accountability to voters is one way to ensure parliament legitimacy. Electorates and their representatives must have effective feedback mechanism to both help raise issue of concern but also report back to constituency. Increasing contact between parliamentarians and the electorates has the potential to improve representation.

4. Other Functions of National Assembly

In addition to its three major functions, the assembly also has the following additional functions as per Section 102 of the 1997 Constitution

  1. Receive and review reports on the activities of the Government and such other reports as are required to be made in accordance with the constitution;
  2. Review and approve proposals for the raising revenue by the government;
  3. Examine the accounts and expenditure of the government and other public bodies funded by public monies and the reports of the Auditor General thereon;
  4. Include in a bil a proposal for referendum on an issue of national concern defined in the Bill, or
  5. advice the president on any matter which lies within his or her responsibility
Previous Committees of the National Assembly

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