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Parliament suspends portfolio business

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Parliament suspends portfolio business. The committees conduct the bulk of Parliament’s oversight role through public hearings and also carry out outreach programmes to gather people’s views on topical issues and legislation.

Parliament has suspended portfolio and thematic committees business during level four lockdown and is operating with critical staff of 30 percent in line with Government guidelines.

The Senate, which will resume sitting next Tuesday, will sit with reduced numbers. Acting Clerk of Parliament Ms Helen Dingani confirmed the measures yesterday.

“At the moment, we only have 30 percent of staff in line with the regulations and those coming to work have been tested. “The same will apply to MPs when they return and we have also suspended business of committees,” she said.

She said following consultations with the Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda, when Senate sits on the January 26, only a few members to form a quorum, will be allowed into the chamber.

Parliament was observing other health guidelines like temperature checks and hand sanitising on entrance into the building. Parliament adjourned business just before the festive season after passing the 2021 Budget.

Senate is supposed to resume sitting on Tuesday next week while the National Assembly is expected to commence sitting on February 5.

Government announced a 30-day intensification on the national lockdown to level four, including an extension of the existing curfew to 6am to 6pm, as part of measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 27 203 people have been infected by the disease while over 713 have died since the first cases were recorded in March last year.

Source – The Herald

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