Parliament yesterday approved the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government presented by Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on November 17, this year, but without inputs from the Minority, who were conspicuously missing from the floor of the House.
In their absence, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta re-submitted a revised version of the 2022 Budget, which was unanimously approved by the Majority MPs including the Speaker.
Upon a motion by Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, and a vote by the House, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu ruled that the earlier decision was in error and in violation of Article 104 (1) and caused it to be expunged from the record.
Parliament then proceeded to consider the motion on the budget and subsequently approved it.
The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, counted himself as an MP making the Majority Caucus in the House 138 members.
The House will in the coming weeks consider the budget estimates for specific sectors of the economy before the appropriation bill would be passed.
Yesterday’s sitting was delayed by hours of meetings between the Majority and Minority leadership aimed at exploring how to cure what has been termed by the Majority as unconstitutionality by Speaker Alban Bagbin.
The Majority side accused Speaker Bagbin of acting in breach of the 1992 constitution after he said that 137 MPs had taken a decision to reject the budget last Friday.
According to the Majority, the act failed the constitutional requirement of 138 MPs present in the House before a decision can be made.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has said that the Majority did not have the numbers to enable them approve the 2022 budget statement.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said at a press conference in in Parliament after the approval that as of the time the Majority were taking the decision to approve the budget, they were 137 and not 138.
“The precedent they are setting will haunt them in the future. At the time that they were taking the decision the house was not 137.”
They further rejected the assurance by the Finance Ken Ofori-Atta that their concerns in the 2022 budget would be addressed at the committee level.
Haruna Iddrisu said that they wanted their concerns captured in the original budget statement, not to be discussed at the committees’ sittings.
“If you are acknowledging and admitting that there were concessions, let it reflect in the statement” and not a meeting at the committee level.
He further stated that the Minority will oppose to the E-levy proposal in its current any day and anytime.
“We don’t support the E-levy in its current. Our point is to revise it to take care of the ordinary people.”
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta had assured them that all the issues they raised against the 2022 Budget, would be addressed at the committee level.
The Minority had raised issues including the request that the budget for Parliament should be raised from GHS510m to GHs1.7bn, issues about the e-levy and others.