Ghana Parliament on Tuesday November 30, 2021 has approved the 2022 Budget Statement presented by Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on the November 17, 202.
The 2022 budget was approved by majority decision. A total of 138 members voted for the approval of the budget which was last Friday rejected by their counterparts in the Minority side.
Even though it was approved, members on the Minority side boycotted Tuesday’s proceedings of the house ahead of the approval of the budget.
The approval runs counter to the earlier confusion on whether or not the budget had been rejected at the Friday’s Parliamentary sitting.
“We clearly agreed that Parliament would sit at 3:30 pm [today] after having lunch. But it’s a pity they are not here [in the plenary],” since the absence of first speaker of parliament Alban Bagbin, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, chaired the sitting.
Joseph Osei Owusu said that the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu moved a motion to set aside the rejection of the Budget which was upheld by the Minority last Friday.
This was after he raised concerns over the manner the rejection was arrived at.
He argued that, the rejection failed to meet the provisions under Article 104. “Parliament did not have the required numbers to be present in the chamber for the purposes of taking decisions”, he said.
The Deputy Speaker thus ordered a head count to have the motion by the Majority Leader moved.
It came out after counting by the clerk of the house that the Members of Parliament present were 137 plus the Deputy Speaker himself making 138 members to form a majority.
The Majority Caucus had insisted that the rejection of the budget by the Minority Caucus was unconstitutional and had no binding effect.
The Majority side accused the Speaker, Alban Bagbin for acting in breach of the 1992 constitution after the speaker claimed that 137 members of parliament had taken a decision to reject the budget, an act that fails the constitutional requirement of 138 MPs present in the house before a decision can be made.
Today’s sitting was delayed by hours of meetings between the majority and minority leadership aimed at exploring how to cure the unconstitutionality committed by speaker Bagbin and the 137 MPs.
Upon a motion by majority leader Kyei Mensah Bonsu, and a vote by the house, the speaker 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 properly consider the motion on the budget and subsequently approved it.
Ghana Parliament will now consider the budget estimates in the coming weeks for specific sectors of the economy before the appropriation bill will be passed to give the government the green light to spend according to monies appropriated in the budget.