Members of the Minority and Majority in parliament are still divided on the 2022 budget’s approval.
Last Friday, Parliament, without the Majority group’s presence, rejected the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government for the 2022 financial year which was presented to the House on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
This has since generated confusion as the majority group led by Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu insists the decision taken by Parliament to reject the 2022 budget in their absence is unconstitutional, and therefore, null and void.
They argued that per the Standing Orders of the House, 137 members of the minority could not form a quorum to decide on the matter.
On Tuesday, November 20, the Majority voted to reverse the earlier rejected budget, with the Minority group boycotting proceedings.
The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu who was the presiding speaker, counted himself as an MP making the Majority Caucus in the House 138 members, and approved the budget.
Mr. Osei Owusu’s counting of himself as part of the Majority even though he was sitting as the speaker made it legitimate to reverse the earlier decision taken on Friday when the Speaker, Alban Bagbin presided over the House.
But the Minority on Wednesday, challenged the move, claiming it is in breach of the parliamentary standing orders.
The First Deputy Speaker in his ruling explained that per the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House, he, together with the Second Deputy Speaker are Members of Parliament who only assist the Speaker of Parliament in the discharge of his duties when the need arises, and can therefore, partake in voting.
“There are a few matters which I wish to clarify. First, it must be clear that a Deputy Speaker is not a Speaker. Indeed, article 96(1) of the constitution says, and I quote there shall be two deputy speakers of Parliament who shall be elected from the Members of Parliament, and to contrast that to Mr. Speaker, is not a Member of Parliament, he stated.