Introduction to Committees of Parliament

Committees of Parliament undertake such specialized functions which the House as a whole sitting in session may not be able to undertake and execute. Executive oversight, principally the review and monitoring of operations and activities of government programs and policies, takes a variety of forms and utilizes various techniques, of which committee enquiries is the most prominent. Oversight inquiries range from specialized investigations by select committees to annual appropriations hearings and is supported by a variety of authorities in the form of the Constitution and related laws, Court rulings, chamber and committee rules

Parliament performs Executive Oversight by scrutinizing government policies, programmes, and expenditure plans. This is done, among other things, by making inputs into, approving and monitoring the national budget. Parliament, through its system of Portfolio and the Thematic Committees, monitors all government policies and programmes to ensure efficient use and allocation of national resources. In addition, individual members can raise questions or move motions that relate to government policies and programmes.

National Assembly Committees

These are Committees designated according to government portfolios to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of government departments and other matters falling under their jurisdictions as Parliament may by resolution determine. Most of the work of Parliament is carried out by and generated in Portfolio Committees. Portfolio Committees are expected to table at least one report per session in Parliament covering their activities. Portfolio Committees perform both a pre-audit and post-audit function. Currently, the National Assembly has 19 Portfolio Committees which are fully operational and one post-audit Public Accounts Committee which examines audited reports of various state institutions.

Thematic Committees

The Senate has 6 Thematic Committees which are designed according to the theme or broad area(s) they cover.