Parliament has rejected the 2022 budget statement presented on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by his Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Wednesday, November 17.
The Majority members had staged a walkout during proceedings on Friday, November 26 but that did not stop the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, from ruling on the motion.
He had given a five-minute break for the Majority of members to resume their seats.
But after the time elapsed, Speaker Bagbin ruled that the budget has been rejected after the members present overwhelmingly shouted ‘No’.
It all began after it took the Majority hours for its members to make their way into the chamber for the start of proceedings on Friday.
Since Tuesday, November 23 – when debate on the government’s economic policy for 2022 began- spirited arguments have been made by the Majority for it to be approved.
“We want to have a conversation with the national agenda ahead of us,” said Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Tuesday.
“This House should approve the economic proposals in the budget.”
But the Minority caucus had a rather inverse stand.
“This budget is the most inconsistent budget I have ever seen,” former Deputy Finance Minister Cassiel Ato Forson said.
So, it became tough on the final day, designated for approval.
With all 137 members of the Minority present for voting, the budget’s approval was going to go full stretch.
It was in the heat of the moment that the Majority staged the walkout.
The Speaker, subsequently, put the question to vote in the absence of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs, and the decision to throw out the budget was taken.
“Clearly the ‘Nos’ have it,” the Right Honourable Speaker stated after the popular vote. “The motion is accordingly lost.”
It is the first time in the Fourth Republic that a budget statement has been rejected by Parliament but it becomes the second time in the country’s history after the budget statement of then Finance Minister Dr. Amon Nikoi was rejected by the Third Parliament.
Dr. Nikoi had laid the budget before the House on behalf of Dr. Hilla Limann in 1979.
The motion had been moved by the late father of the current Finance Minister, Jones Ofori-Atta of the then opposition Popular Front Party (PFP).