Educational level Attained
The highest educational level of the MP's is Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and 7 MPs (5%) have PhD's. A total of 46 MP's (31%) have Master’s Degree while 8 (5%) have LLBs. 36 MP's (25%) have First degrees. The other 49 (34%) of MP's have Higher Certificate, Certificate and Advanced & Ordinary Level qualification. The constitutional eligibility of MP's is ‘to read and write’. All 146 MP's meet the eligibility criteria of becoming MP's. See chart below:
Procedure in the Chamber of Parliament:
Order Papers, Votes & Proceedings, Hansards, Bills, Govt. White-paper, and other relevant documents are being sent to MPs’ pigeon holes informing them about the programs for the coming sitting.
Parliamentary debate processions led by the Sergeant At Arms followed by the Speaker, the Clerk of Parliament and the Table Clerks
Prayers said by the Clerk of Parliament
Suspension of Standing Orders S.O. 5(2) if it has passed 10:00 am
Records of votes and proceedings
The speaker moves the motion for the adoption of votes and proceedings
Papers laid on the Table,
Motions being moved by MP's,
Bills laid by Ministers and moved for the first reading,
Questions proposed and put forward that the bill be read for the first time;
Motion agreed and the bill goes to the second reading,
The Minister proposes that the bill be read for the second time; By presenting the objects and reasons to the House, he/she moves its Second Reading,
MP's on both sides of the aisle now deliberate on the bill effectively,
Suspension of standing orders S.O. 5(2) for proceedings to continue during lunch time,
The minister responds to the issues raised by MP's and moves again that the bill be read the second time,
A motion moved on S.O. 51(1), Committal of the bill to the Legislative Committee, Question put and agreed for bill to be committed to the legislative committee,
MP's stand on S.O 23, personal explanations on issues affecting the state such as roads, electricity, security, water etc., and important personal issues.
Announcements by the Table Clerks,
The Speaker adjourns the House to another date, sometimes ‘Sine Die’.
Summary on How a Bill Becomes Law
The Minister initiating the bill sends it to Law Officers Department for legal drafting preparations etc.
After drafting from Law Officers Department, the Minister submits the drafted bill at Cabinet for their input and approval
The draft bill is submitted to the Law Officers Department again for possible additional input from Cabinet
The draft bill is submitted to the Government Printer for gazetting on at least two consecutive dates/times for a minimum period of nine days and made available for public purchase.
The Minister then arrange with Parliament for a Pre-Legislative briefing. This is to enable the Minister discuss the details of the bill and its entirety with MP's before the bill is formally submitted for legislative proceedings.
The bill will be read the first time by the Minister, in the case of a Government Bill or by a private Member, in the case of a Private Member’s Bill. At this stage, only the title and general principle of the Bill are read.
After this stage the Bill is read the second time. The merits of the Bill are discussed in detail and debate commences.
Committee stage: The Bill will be examined clause by clause and technical and legal aspects reviewed, as they relate to existing legislations. The Committee of the Whole House reports to Parliament.
The Minister commits the bill to the third stage/reading and recommends that the bill be read the third time and passed into law.
After the bill has been unanimously passed by Parliament it is further taken to the Law Officers Department to effect any necessary amendments made by Parliament and sent to the Government Printer for draft assent copy.
The Clerk of Parliament certifies the assent copy and sends it to the President for his assent
The bill then becomes law, as an Act of Parliament, with the signature of the President
Thereafter, the Clerk of Parliament will forward the assent copy to the Government Printer for gazette publication. This publication will be available for sale at the Government Bookshop.
Procedures for the First Sitting of Parliament
Main Activities in Summary
Oath Taking of Elected Members of Parliament administered by the Clerk of Parliament.
Section 83 of the Constitution Act No. 6 1991 provides that “Every Member of Parliament shall, before taking his seat in Parliament, take and subscribe before Parliament the oath as set out in the Third Schedule”
Election of the Speaker of Parliament
Qualifications as specified in the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act, 2013
Oath Taking of the Speaker of Parliament; As given in the Third Schedule of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No.6 of 1991)
Election of the Deputy Speaker; As amended by the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act 2013
Oath Taking of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Felicitations to Hon. Speaker & Hon. Deputy Speaker
Chamber Procedure on the First Sitting
Officer-in-charge – Clerk of Parliament
The newly elected Members of Parliament take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament
The Clerk of Parliament offers Prayers
The Clerk brief Members of Parliament on the procedures for the Oath taking of elected Members.
Members of Parliament will take and subscribe to the Oath of Office as given in the Third Schedule Constitution (Act No. 6 of 1991)
This may be done in groups of 10 using Bible and Quran for both Muslims and Christians.
Next item on the Agenda will be the Election of the Speaker.
Procedures for the Speakership Election (Speaker and Deputy Speaker)
Election of Speaker is given under Section 79 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone
Section 79 was amended in 2013 by the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act, 2013 which now reads as follows:
79(1) The Speaker of Parliament shall be elected by the Members of Parliament from among persons who are-
(a) Members of Parliament and who had served as such for not less than five years; (b)Qualified to be Members of Parliament and who had served as such for not less than ten years; & who are not less than 40 years.
79 (2) The Speaker shall be elected by a resolution in favour of which there are cast the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament:
Provided that if three successive resolutions proposing the election of a Speaker fail to receive the votes of two-third of the Members of Parliament , the Speaker shall be elected by a resolution passed by a simple majority of all the Members of Parliament.
Call for nominations by the Clerk of Parliament
Closure of nominations by Clerk of Parliament
The Clerk of Parliament calls for Nomination
A Member of Parliament nominates a candidate for the position of Speaker and will be seconded by a Member of Parliament based on the qualification specified. Any number of nominations may be made provided they are qualified.
Closure of Nomination
In the absence of any other nomination the Clerk will call upon a Member to move for the closure of nomination which is seconded by a, Member.
The Clerk will list the qualification as given in the constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act 2013).
The Table Clerk will note the names of Nominees and list them down and give them to the Clerk of Parliament
Question put and agreed to that Nomination be closed.
CLERK OF PARLIAMENT DECLARES NOMINATION CLOSED
VOTING is done as per Standing Order 8:
Blank ballot paper will be given to MPs by the Table Clerks.
Voting is done by secret ballot with words written (Aye – Yes) and (Nay – No)
Clerk will explain the Voting process to Members and explain the meaning of ticking the box AYE – Meaning YES and NAY – Meaning No to select or reject a candidate.
The Clerk of Parliament proposes the question:
Hon Members the question is that the Hon. or Mr.………do take the Chair as Speaker of Parliament, if more than one person is so proposed the Clerk shall propose the question that the first person proposed do take the Chair of the House as Speaker.
Debate may be allowed under Standing Order 8 (4) for those who indicate their desire to speak.
The Clerk shall then call the names of Members in Alphabetical order and each, who so desire shall as his name is called, come to the table and drop his ballot paper into a glass jar in such manner as not to disclose how he is voting.
When all Members have dropped their ballots papers into the glass jar, the Clerk assisted by the Clerks at-the-Table shall examine the ballot papers and report the result to the House.
If the vote of less than 2/3 of the Members of Parliament are cast in favour of any question put to the House, the Clerk shall declare that that question has not been agreed to.
The Clerk shall then propose the same question until one such person is declared elected by the Clerk.
If three successive resolutions proposing the election of a Speaker fail to receive the votes of two thirds of all the Members of Parliament the Speaker shall be elected by a resolution passed by a simple majority of all the Members of Parliament, in a contest, (in the case of three candidates in the three previously negative resolutions), between the two candidates who received the highest and the next highest number of votes in the previous ballots.
If this question is not agreed to, the Clerk shall forthwith adjourn Parliament without question put and another election to the Speakership with new candidate shall be restarted in another Sitting.
If only one candidate is nominated voting shall take place by secret ballot in order to obtain the 2/3 majority.
STANDING ORDER (9) AND THE CONSTITUTION OF SIERRA LEONE (AMENDMENT) ACT 2013 (SECTION 80 AMENDED)
Election of Deputy Speaker
The election of a Deputy Speaker shall be conducted in a similar manner to the election of a Speaker, save that Mr. Speaker shall preside, and that any motion for the election of the Deputy Speaker shall be declared to have been agreed to, if it is supported by the majority of Members present and voting.
The Budget Process
Budget in democratic governance, refers to the statement on the Government’s fiscal and economic policy measures relating to its annual revenue and expenditure decisions. In Sierra Leone, the legal credence to the budget process is provided in Section 110 to 119 of the 1991 Constitution, Parliamentary Standing Orders 63 to 69, the Government Budget and Accountability Act 2005. Like in most other countries, there are generally four stages of the budget process in Sierra Leone: preparation, approval, implementation and evaluation. Sierra Leone Parliament is mainly involved in the approval stage and to a lesser extent in the evaluation, while those of preparation and implementation mainly rest with the executive.
The budget preparation starts with the issuance of a Circular (Budget Call Circular) to all Vote Controllers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance at around June each year, requesting them to submit the financial proposals to the Budget Bureau no later than end of August. The Circular outlines the macroeconomic and policy guidelines of the Government and indicates ceilings to the Heads of Expenditure of the MDAs which they are encouraged not to exceed. This is followed by strategic planning wherein Vote Controllers and Management Teams of the MDAs prepare planned activities, objectives and expected outcomes for the ensuing financial year relating to Heads of Expenditure, especially for development programmes.
Then the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Technical Committee sits together with the MDAs to arrange their budgeted programmes and activities in line with the MTEF process (quarterly allocation per annum of a three year budget) ensuring that they budget for incomplete projects from the previous year(s) or that medium term projects are evenly projected into the following year(s). This is followed by public discussions on the budget proposals. Although the process at this stage is still mainly the business of the Executive, sometimes some Members of Parliament (MPs) and Councilors are invited by the Budget Bureau and the MDAs to participate in public discussions on their budget proposals to get views on the appropriateness or otherwise of their needs and selected priorities. The budget figures are then confirmed by the MDAs after budget hearings and submitted to the Budget Bureau as budget estimates for the Appropriation Bill for that financial year.
Budget Approval/Legislative Process
Step 1: Budget Speech/First Reading: The presentation of the Budget by the Government in Parliament is one of the most closely followed events in any Parliament. This is generally followed by an extensive debate which attracts wide public attention. The Minister delivers the Budget Speech (which is the First Reading) and lays the estimates on the Table of the House as a Bill, being “an Act to provide services for Sierra Leone for the Financial Year”. Thereafter, the Appropriation Bill journeys through the legislative process. The Appropriation Bill shall be put down for Second Reading (S.O. 63/3) for not less than two clear days.
Step 2: The Second Reading: After the First Reading (which comes in the form of a Budget Speech), five days are allotted for the Second Reading with the debate limited to the financial and economic state of the country and general principles of Government policy and administration as indicated by the Bill and its estimates. On the last day of the five allotted days at 14:30 the proceedings of the Second Reading are brought to an end with the necessary question put by the Speaker; unless if the debate comes to an end earlier.
Step 3: Committee of Supply: At the end of the Second Reading, the Bill is committed to the Committee of the Whole House which for the Appropriation Bill is called the Committee of Supply (S.O. 64/1 &2). The Finance Committee in Parliament takes the lead in organizing the process of the Committee of Supply by dividing Members into Sub Appropriation Committees (these are Sub Committees of the Committee of Supply or of the Whole House), fixing timelines for ensuing meetings and summoning Vote Controllers of MDAs to defend their Heads of Expenditure, taking into account expenditures for programmes and activities for the previous Financial Year (FY) and those for the current FY. This exercise takes into consideration the policies underlying the estimates, priorities, effective and efficient use of both human and financial resources, the constraints of the MDAs, the adequacy or inadequacy of these resources and report to the Committee of the Whole House.
Step 4: Third Reading/Enactment: After the Sub Appropriation Committees report to the House and where there is no notice of amendments, a motion for the Third reading is made by the Minister in charge which is decided without debate.
Budget implementation or execution is done under the hand of the Financial Secretary and supervision of the Budget Bureau and Accountant-Generals’ Department of the Ministry of Finance. The Budget Bureau prepares the quarterly budgetary allocations which are forwarded to the Accountant-Generals’ Department under the hand of the Financial Secretary as directives to allow the processing of payment vouchers to MDAs up to the amounts allocated. The MDAs on their part raise vouchers for their activities and programmes of expenditure to access and utilize their quarterly allocations. The PET forms are in line with the MTEF and Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to ensure prudent financial management that monies are spent for the activities for which allocations are made.
Sub Appropriation Procedures and its Financial Provisions
At the end of the Fiscal year, the Minister of Finance will lay on the table of Parliament the Budget Speech, Profile, Financial Strategy Statement and the Appropriation Bill for the First Reading.
After that, it shall be put forward for the Second Reading with a 5 allotted days for continuous debate on the Second Reading.
The Appropriation Bill and the Allocated budget estimates given to MDA's will be sent to the Committee of Supply to carefully scrutinize the budget allocated to every MDA's.
An open-ended questionnaire is sent out to all MDA's in line with S.O. 66(1).
Vote Controllers are requested to respond to questions relating to their budgetary allocations, state their challenges and provide a comprehensive summation of how they have been carrying out their mandates.
After the exercises the Minister will again move the motion for the Appropriation Bill to be Read the Third time. It will then be passed into law for government to undertake capital and recurrent expenditure.
The Financial Provisions (Excerpts from 1991 Constitution and the Standing Orders, Revised 2006)
63. Presentation, first Reading and Second Reading of Appropriation Bill
(1) There shall be submitted to Parliament by the Minister of Finance before the beginning of the fiscal year to which it refers, a budget which shall include the documents delineated in subsection 23 of the government Budgeting and Accountability Act, (Act No. 3 of 2005).
(2) All proceedings upon the Appropriation Bill subsequent to its first reading, which takes the form of the Budget speech, shall be subject to the provisions of the remaining paragraphs of this Order and of the next five succeeding Orders, (i.e. Standing Orders).
(3) After the Bill has been read the first time, it shall be put down for Second Reading not less than two clear days thereafter and five days shall be allotted for the Second Reading of the Bill. The debate shall be confined to the financial and economic state of Sierra Leone an the general principles of Government policy and administration as indicated by the Bill and its Estimates. At 14.30 hours on the last day, unless the debate is concluded earlier, the speaker shall put any question necessary to bring the proceedings on second reading to a conclusion.
(4) For the purpose of this Order and of S.O. No. 65 (allotment of Time in Committee of Supply) an allotted day shall be any day on which the consideration of the appropriation bill, whether by the House or in the Committee of Supply, stands as the first Public Business for that day, and on such a day no other Public Business may be taken.
64. Committee of Supply
(1) There shall be a Committee of the whole House to be called the Committee of Supply. The deliberations of the committee shall be in public.
(2) Without prejudice to the mandate of the Finance Committee in these Orders, the Estimates shall upon presentation to the House stand referred to the Committee of Supply and the Appropriation Bill upon being read a second time, shall stand committed to that Committee.
(3) To enhance the effectiveness of the scrutiny of Heads of Expenditure by the whole House, the Committee of Supply shall, pursuant to subsection (6) of Section 112 of the Constitution, incorporate a scrutiny by a number of Appropriation Subcommittees formed out of organizing the Membership of Parliament into groups.
65. Allotment of time in Committee of Supply
(1) There shall be allotted a maximum of five days for discussion of the Appropriation Bill in Committee of supply.
Provided that if the question on the Second Reading of the Bill was agreed to on a day earlier than the last day allotted for the debate on Second Reading, the day or days thus saved may be added to the days allotted under this paragraph. And the work of the appropriation subcommittees shall be outside this time-frame.
(2) Upon any day allotted under paragraph (1) of this Order, no dilatory motion shall be moved, except by a Minister or the Majority Party Leader of the House, upon any proceedings on the Appropriation Bill and such proceedings shall not be interrupted or postponed under any Order.
(3) Mr. Speaker may name the hour upon any day allotted under paragraph (1) of this Order at which proceedings upon any Head of Expenditure in the Schedules to the Bill, or any Schedule or on the clauses of the Bill, shall be concluded. If in the case of any Head or Schedule or of the clauses the hour so named is reached before the business concerned is disposed of, the Chairman shall put forthwith any question necessary to dispose of that business
Provided that if in the case of any Head or Schedule the proceedings thereon are concluded before the hour named, the next business may be
66. Procedure in Committee of Supply
(1) Preliminary to the deliberations of the whole House in committee, the Appropriation Subcommittees shall, working together with vote Controllers and their Accountants, examine a series of Heads of Expenditure allocated to them by the finance Committee. This exercise shall include consideration of the policies underlying the Estimates, their structures of priorities, efficient and effective use of both human and financial resources, the constraints of the organizations, the adequacy or otherwise of the financial allocations, and report to the whole House in Committee of Supply.
(2) On the consideration of the Appropriation Bill in Committee of Supply, the clauses of the Bill shall stand postponed until after consideration of the Schedule or Schedules, which shall be initiated by the appropriation Subcommittee reports on them.
(3) On consideration of the Schedules, each Head of Expenditure shall be considered with the appropriate Estimates, and any reference in these Orders to a sub-head or an item means a sub-head or an item in the Estimates of the Head then under discussion.
(4) On the consideration of a Schedule, the Clerk of Parliament shall call the title of each Head of Expenditure in turn and the Chairman, following the motion of the Minister in Charge, shall propose he question “That the sum of Le x For Head y stand part of the Schedule”. And unless an amendment is proposed under the provisions of the next succeeding Order, a debate may take place on that question. Any such debate shall be confined to the policy of the service for which the money is to be provided and shall not deal with the details of any item or subhead but may refer to the details or revenue or funds for which that service is responsible. At the conclusion of the debate on a Schedule or a group of Schedules, as the case may be, the Chairman shall forthwith put the question.
(5) When all the Heads in a Schedule have been disposed of, the Chairman shall put forthwith without amendment or debate, the question “that the Schedule (as amended) stands part of the Bill.”
(6) When the Schedule has been disposed of, the Chairman shall call successively, each clause of the Bill and shall forthwith propose the question “that the clause stand part of the Bill” and, unless a consequential amendment is required to be moved, that question shall be disposed of without amendment or debate.
(7) No amendment may be moved to any clause except any amendment consequential on an alteration in the total sum appropriated by any Head in the Schedule. Any such consequential amendment shall be moved by a Minister only, and may be moved without notice and the question thereon shall be put forthwith without amendment or debate. When the question on the last of any such amendments to a clause has been decided, the Chairman shall forthwith put the question “that the clause as amended stand part of the Bill” and that question shall then be decided without amendment or debate.
(8) When the question upon every clause of the Bill has been decided, the House shall resume without question put, the Minister in charge shall report the Bill (or the Bill as amended) to the House, and following the motion that the Bill be read the third time and passed into law, the speaker shall forthwith put the question.
67. Amendments to Heads of Estimates in Committee of Supply
(1) No amendment shall be moved in the Committee of Supply under this Order, unless one clear day’s notice has been given of it and it has been published in the Notice Paper.
(2) An amendment to any Head of Expenditure to increase the sum allotted thereto whether in respect of any item or sub-head or of the Head itself, may only be moved by a Minister who shall signify to the Committee the increase in accordance with paragraph (3) of S.O. No. 52 (functions of Committees on Bills). Every such amendment shall take the form of a motion “That Head …………….. be increased by Le………… in respect of sub-head ……………. item ………..”.
(3) An amendment to increase a Head whether in respect of any item or sub-head or of the Head itself shall take precedence over an amendment to reduce the Head in the same respect, and if it is carried, no amendment to reduce the Head in that respect shall be called.
(4) An amendment to any Head of Expenditure to reduce the sum allotted thereto in respect of any item therein may be moved by any Member and shall take the form of a motion “That Head ……………….. be reduced by Le…………….. in respect of or by leaving out sub-head …………… item ………….”.
(5) An amendment to reduce a Head in respect of any sub-head or by leaving out a sub-head shall only be in order if the sub-head is not itemized.
(6) An amendment to reduce a Head without reference to a sub-head therein shall only be in order if the Head is not divided into sub-heads.
(7) An amendment to leave out a functional Head shall not be in order and shall not be placed on the Order Paper.
(8) In the case of each Head, amendments in respect of items or sub-heads in that Head shall be placed upon the Order Paper and considered in the order in which the items or sub-heads to which they refer, stand in the Head in the Estimates.
(9) When notice has been given of two or more amendments to reduce the same item, sub-head or Head, they shall be placed upon the Order Paper and considered in the order of the magnitude of the reductions proposed, the amendment proposing the largest reduction being placed first in each case.
(10) Debate on every amendment shall be confined to the item, sub-head or Head to which the amendment refers, and after an amendment to an item or sub-head has been disposed of, no amendment or debate on a previous item or sub-head or that Head shall be permitted.
(11) When all amendments standing on the Notice Paper in respect of any particular Head of Expenditure have been disposed of, the Chairman shall again propose the question “That the sum of Le……….. for Head ………….. stand part of the Schedule”, or shall propose the amended question “That the increased/reduced sum of Le…………. for Head ………… stand part of the Schedule”, as the case may require. The debate on any such question shall be subject to the same limitations as apply to a debate arising under paragraph (4) of S.O. No. 66 (Procedure in Committee of Supply).
68. Third reading of Appropriation Bill
So soon as the Appropriation bill has been reported to the House, a motion for the Third Reading shall be made by the Minister in Charge. Such motion is not required to be seconded, and shall be decided without amendment or debate.
69. Supplementary Appropriation Bills
(1) Where, in respect of any financial year, it is found that the amount of moneys appropriated by the Appropriation Act for any purpose is insufficient or that the need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose which no amount of moneys has been appropriated by that Act, a supplementary estimate showing the sum of money required shall be laid before Parliament.
(2) Where in respect of any financial year, a supplementary estimate has been approved by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of subparagraph (1) of this Order, a Supplementary Appropriation Bill shall be introduced in Parliament in the financial year next following the financial year to which the estimates relate, providing for the appropriation of the sums so approved for the purposes specified in that estimate.
(3) the debate on the Second Reading of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill shall be strictly confined to the matters for which additional expenditure has been provided, and when the question thereon has been agreed to, the Bill shall not be committed, unless the House on Motion so commits for discussion that Schedule, if any, to the Bill, which incorporates expenditure for which Supplementary Warrants (contingencies) have not been issued, and the Question “that the Bill be now read a third time” shall be put forthwith without amendment or debate.
(4) The Minister may cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament estimates of revenue and expenditure of Sierra Leone for periods of over one year.