Committees

Under Section 115 of the Constitution and Sections 50-55 of the Rules of Procedure, the Maneaba ni Maungatabu is allowed to establish Parliamentary committees to perform functions for which Parliament itself may not have time or is not well suited to deal with. These may include such tasks as finding out facts, examining witnesses, seeking advice from experts, drawing up recommendations etc. There are two types of committees- standing and select committees.

Standing committees are those which have been established on a semi-permanent basis, i.e. those which continue to exist throughout the life of Parliament. Membership is restricted to members of Parliament, excluding those who hold ministerial portfolios.

There are at present three standing committees in the Maneaba ni Maungatabu: the Business Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, and the Privileges Committee.

The chairman and members of the Business Committee are nominated by the Speaker and approved by the members. Its main job is to deal with matters affecting the running of the Maneaba. Because the Business Committee is not involved in investigatory work, it is not required to report its recommendations and findings to Parliament.

For the Public Accounts Committee, however, because of its more investigatory role, the chairman and members are nominated and approved by Parliament. Its job is to examine the audited accounts of the Republic, draw up reasoned conclusions, make recommendations and then submit a report directly to Parliament for approval.

Unlike standing committees, select committees do not usually exist during the whole life of a Parliament. They are created only for a limited time to meet the particular, short term need. A select committee is established by the moving of a motion in which the name of the chairman and the proposed members are noticed. Normally this excludes persons who hold ministerial positions. The Rules of Procedure provides that once a select committee has completed its final report on the matter referred to it by Parliament it is dissolved, unless an extension of time is so moved and approved.