Highlights from 2022 budget debate: The disagreements, fights and rejection

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Sun, 28 Nov 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Parliament rejects 2022 budget

Majority stages walkout before budget approval vote

Speaker rejects Ken Ofori-Atta's plea to meet leadership of parliament

Members of Parliament began debate on the 2022 Budget Statement on Tuesday, November 23 2021.

This was after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, presented the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to the house on November 17, 2021.

Presenting the statement, the Minister moved the motion for the House to approve the Economic Policies of the Government for the year ending 31st December 2022.

Among the many things contained in the budget is the abolition of road tolls, scrapping of Benchmark Values for some 40 products, the introduction of electronic transaction levy and the Youth Start initiative.

Minority threatens to reject budget

On the first day of the debate, the minority threatened to reject the budget, explaining that it will only increase the hardship of Ghanaians, especially the introduction of the Electronic Transaction levy, the increment of fees and charges of government services by 15%.

Member of Parliament Builsa South Constituency, Clement Apaak, said his constituents have asked him to remain in Accra if he voted in favour of the budget.

Reacting to this, the Education Minister, said the MP failed to read the budget to his constituents hence the reason they want it rejected.

Keeping president’s travels ‘top secret’

Bryan Acheampong also revealed to parliament that he had advised the National Security Minister to make the president’s trips a ‘top secret’ to protect him.

But Minority disagreed with him, indicating that Ghanaians are entitled to know how their taxes is being spent.

Health minister’s reputation in tatters

The Minority demanded for a breakdown on COVID-19 expenditure by the government

The Health Minister welcomed the idea while he urged the minority to approve the budget for them to collect the agenda 111 projects and other basic health projects.

The Health Minister lamented on how his reputation has been tattered in an attempt to get the emergency vaccines for the country.

Sea defence

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, also bemoaned government’s failure to address the concerns of residents affected by tidal waves in the Volta Region.

John Boadu must be hauled before parliament

The Minority, on the floor of Parliament, asked the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to haul the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, before the Privileges Committee for undermining the speaker.

According to the Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Governs Kwame Agbodza, the statement made by John Boadu at Mankessim is worse than the statement Black Rasta made against parliamentarians, hence the need for parliament to summon him.

John Boadu is reported to have said the Speaker should go and collect toll fees himself after Mr Bagbin directed the Roads and Highways Minister to reverse his directive on the cessation of road tolls until Parliament presents appropriate legislation.

Majority fails to show up

On the concluding day of the debate, Friday, November 26, the majority failed to show up for parliamentary at the time proceedings was scheduled to start.

The Minority held a press conference, calling them out.

The leaders of the majority, reacting to the minority, told the media that they were engaged in a caucus meeting of which the speaker was aware.

But the Speaker who arrived in the chamber at 1:15 pm to meet the absence of the Majority, said he wasn’t unaware of the caucus meeting but he suspended the sitting to 30mins.

Kennedy Agyapong makes appearance

After close to two hours the Speaker returned to the Chamber, this time around, the majority showed up in their numbers.

Among them was the MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, who has been absent from parliament since the house resumed sitting on October 26, 2021.

He was welcomed back with hugs and handshakes from members of both sides of the house who evidently have missed him.

Finance minister wants to meet leadership

The proceedings commenced and it was time for both the Minority and Majority leaders to give their concluding statement on the 2022 budget.

Just as the minority leader was about to mount the platform to make his statement, the Majority leader said Ken Ofori-Atta, the finance minister, wanted to meet the leadership of both sides to have a closed-door discussion before the leaders make their statement.

The Speaker rejected this request and asked the Minority leader to proceed with his concluding debate.

After both leaders were done with their statements, the finance minister was called to make his presentation to the house but he pleaded with the speaker to allow him engage the leadership for both sides.

The Speaker asked the house to vote on this and at the end of the vote, he announced the ‘Nos’ had it.

But deputy majority leader, Alendaxer Afenyo-Markin disagreed with the Speaker and called on a division.

This meant that people who weren’t MPs are to leave the lobby for the Speaker to direct another voting.

He, therefore, ordered Ministers who are not Members of Parliament to leave the lobby so they do not interfere in the voting process.

Majority stages walkout because of Asiedu Nketia’s presence

There was an uproar by the majority after the ministers left the chamber, demanding that General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who was in the public gallery, must also leave the chamber.

They shouted “Aseidu Nketia must leave” and banged on their desks.

General Mosquito, however, remained sitting, unperturbed by the Majority’s display.

The side eventually walked out of the chamber

Parliament rejects budget

The speaker, suspended sitting for five minutes and came back to continue the sitting without the majority.

The house, without the majority, voted against the leadership meeting the Finance Minister.

Shortly after this, the house also voted against the 2022 budget.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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