Functions of the Committees
Committees are central to the operations of the National Council for three reasons. Firstly, they allow for the detailed examination of complex matters which is more easily done in small groups than an entire house. Secondly, they offer an opportunity for Members to hear from citizens and experts on topics of national concern and to have these representations placed on the public record. Thirdly, they provide a means for members to probe into the details of policies and programs, thereby further developing an expertise in specific areas.
Therefore, members devote a great deal of time and energy to committees. Their main functions are:
- To examine Bills referred to the Committee in its field of responsibility;
- To review national long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman;
- To recommend alternative policy options in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration;
- To find out facts of a case or issue referred to it by the Chairman, examine witnesses, sift evidence and draw up reasoned conclusions for submission to the House;
- To consider Annual Reports;
- To consider the reports submitted by relevant agencies and recommend measures that should be taken by the Government for improvement;
- To scrutinize the assurances, promises, undertakings etc. given by Ministers from time to time and report on the extent to which such assurances have been implemented;
- To provide a forum for public debate on current issues;
- To examine such other matters as may seem fit to the Committee or are specifically referred to it by the House.