Ghana’s ruling party lawmakers have expressed displeasure at what they call a one-sided rejection of the country’s 2022 Budget and Economic Policy.
The Parliament voted against the 2022 Budget on Friday after the majority MPs staged a walkout.
They had walked out of the chamber to protest the refusal of the opposition party’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia to leave the public gallery of the parliament house.
The speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin had earlier ordered Marshals to drive walk-out ministers of state who were in the House but were not lawmakers ahead of the crucial vote to approve the budget.
When the Speaker Alban Bagbin put the question for those in favour or against, the “No” voice votes had it and there was no “YES” voice vote.
After the Minority and Majority leaders took their turns to conclude their debate, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta also had an opportunity to make an appeal to the House on the Budget.
A request by the Minister of Finance to the Speaker to allow him meet both leadership of the House prior to a question being put for the approval of the Budget Statement was declined by the Speaker.
While the Majority agreed to the Minister of Finance’s request, the Minority kicked against it vehemently.
The Speaker therefore told the House he would put the question for the House to vote on whether the minister should meet the leadership of the House or not.
After some chaos during proceedings the Speaker of Parliament suspended the sitting for a few minutes and resumed sitting for the vote on the budget to be taken.
The budget was eventually rejected by the MPs who were present in parliament on Friday evening.
The Majority Caucus had asked Ghanaians to disregard reports concerning the rejection of the 2022 budget by Parliament.
In a statement, the majority said the action is illegal and must be treated with the contempt it deserves.
“For the record, the acts of the Minority and the decision of the Speaker to endorse it, constitute an unconstitutionality and an illegality and should be disregarded, as same is void and of no effect whatsoever”, it said.
The majority said it remains resolute to ensure that the 1992 Constitution is respected to the letter by Speaker Bagbin and the Minority.
“Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 109 of the Standing Orders of Parliament are very clear. The two provisions, read together, require that at least 138 MPs needed to have been present in the Chamber at the time of the purported vote. Therefore, the claim that the budget has been rejected by 137 Members of the House is null, void and of no effect because same is unconstitutional”.
“Majority Caucus finds it unfortunate that after making requests to the Finance Minister to reconsider some items in the Budget Statement, the Minority Caucus assisted by Speaker Bagbin, who had earlier indicated his ability to obstruct Government business, refused to give the Finance Minister an opportunity to accommodate their requests and instead hurriedly moved to on their own, attempt to vote against the Budget in a bid to subject the Government of Ghana to embarrassment for mere partisan reasons.”
It is yet to be seen whether a new budget will be presented to parliament to be voted for before the year ends.