By Edzorna Francis Mensah & Bubu Klinogo.
The Majority in Parliament led by MP for Suame and Leader of Government business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, approved the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government for the year ending 31st December 2022.
The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, relied on Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution and other provisions in the Standing Orders of Parliament to overturn the earlier decision that purportedly nullified the Budget by 137 Headcount when Speaker, Alban Bagbin chaired.
His decision followed a motion moved by Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonso under order 50 (1) of the standing orders to reverse earlier ruling.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin who seconded the motion reminded the Deputy Speaker that he has the power under Order 13 (1) to take such decisions in absence of the Speaker.
Meanwhile, the Minority Group led by Haruna Iddrisu has warned that, “henceforth all public business will be determined by my vote”.
According to him, from December 1, 2021, all matters in Parliament will be done by headcount, and “majority must prepare for this”.
He went on to say, ”today marks a dark day for Ghana’s Parliamentary democracy for a Presiding speaker to vote”.
According to the Minority group, “as of last week, we’ve rejected the Budget by 137 votes and this was captured in the votes and proceedings”.
Mr. Haruna said, “I’m particularly disappointed in the conduct of the First Deputy Speaker to have voted without recourse to key provisions in the 1992 Constitution and standing of Parliament.
Mr. Haruna said the Presiding Deputy Speaker has no vote under order 109 (3).
The Minority boycotted Parliamentary proceedings on November 30, 2021.
Correspondent Bubu Klinogo reports that as at 4.pm when proceedings commenced, not a single Member from the Minority was in the Chamber.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu moved a motion for the Speaker to set aside an earlier decision to reject the 2022 Budget. Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued that the number of MPs who were in the Chamber to take that decision did not meet the minimum required by the Constitution and the standing orders of Parliament. According to him, the minimum required was 138, however, those present on the day were 137.
Earlier, both the Minority and Majority sides in Parliament held separate Caucus meetings over the 2022 Budget Statement that was not resolved on Friday, November 26, 2021.
Bubu Klinogo said the two sides met to devise their next line of action over the unresolved Budget.