Parliament on Tuesday November 30, with a total number of 138 members of Parliament present, approved the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy tabled by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and subject to corrections proposed by same.
All 137 members on the Minority side were absent from the Chamber and First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu, who presided over the House, said he had no idea why the Minority side was absent.
The Minority side, last Friday, had some 137 members present who voted to reject the budget in the absence of the Majority.
At Tuesday’s sitting, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, argued that per the Constitution of Ghana, there ought to be a minimum of 138 members present before a decision can be taken in Parliament.
His position was supported by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin who quoted Article 104 (1) of the 1992 Constitution: “Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, matters in Parliament shall be determined by the votes of the majority of members present and voting, with at least half of all the members of Parliament present.”
Afenyo-Markin explained further that in a Parliament that has 275 elected members, it amounts to an illegality for only 137 of them present, to say they have on their own voted to determine a rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy tabled by the Government when they knew very well the figure of 137 falls below half of the total number of members of Parliament who are constitutionally required to be present.
Afenyo-Markin seconded the motion for the purported rejection to be overturned and the Deputy Speaker put the motion before the House for a voice vote.
The Deputy Speaker however first called for a head count of all members of Parliament present in the Chamber and the Clarks confirmed the number was 137, plus the Deputy Speaker who represents the Bekwai Constituency making the figure of constitutionally elected members of Parliament present, 138.
The Speaker then put the motion to a voice vote which he, personally, abstained,
The outcome of the vote was that the Budget Statement and Economic Policy is accepted and approved.
The Minority, led by Haruna Iddrisu, later held a press conference to describe what had happened as an illegality. MORE SOON.
Story by HALIFAX ANSAH-ADDO