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Sunday, October 1, 2023

IRI trains parliamentary staff on legislative research


By Tabora Bojang

The International Republican Institute (IRI) in partnership with the National Assembly conducted a two day training session to furnish Assembly research staff with requisite skills and knowledge to effectively carry out “non-partisan” legislative research to ensure they contribute to an effective parliament.

The program is aim to strengthen autonomy in the legislature to advance reforms that represents citizens interest, hence research is essential to help build the capacity of lawmakers to respond to constituent concerns, provides access to unbiased, accurate information on legislative issues, and improves the effectiveness of the parliamentary committees.

The two day session will train research staff on the standards for nonpartisan research, explaining historical and current policies, comparing differences in legislation, identifying direct and hidden costs in bills, examining policies in other countries, conducting a cost/benefit analysis for various stakeholders, and explaining the potential impact and consequences of proposed legislation.

Under the program, IRI will also help support and mentor participants to produce two complete research products that contribute to the reform effort. Speaking at the opening ceremony held at the Metzy Hotel, Friday, the clerk of the National Assembly, Momodou Sise, emphasised the importance of research in parliamentary business as it helps improve the standard and credibility of information that lawmakers come into contact with during the course of their work.

“It is often said that information is power, but to me, the credibility of that information is what is more powerful. And this credibility is what research provides. I urge you all to take this training serious and give it all the attention and interest it deserves,” Sise urged participants.

He thanked the IRI for being a “very trusted, reliable, and partner” to the National Assembly.

IRI resident program director in the Gambia, Joseph Jimmy Sankaituah said this technical assistance and mentorship program is coming at a time when countries throughout the world are focusing on using data as the source of decision making and the National Assembly is no exception. “There is no way members of the National Assembly can have access to the relevant data they need to make decision if the research department does not provide them with critical analysis they need. by this training, we hope to achieve a situation in which the research department is well equipped to measure up to it responsibilities,” he added.

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