Parliament has duly rejected 2022 budget, remove draconian taxes and resubmit – Haruna

Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has said that parliament has duly rejected the 2022 Budget presented by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta.

Until and unless the government removes the draconian taxes in the rejected budget, he said, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament remain unable to support the document.

In a statement, he said, the Minority was shocked and disappointed at the verbal attack on the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin by the Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu “in his attempt to explain away their inability to show leadership in the House during the consideration of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy. The Minority wishes to strongly advise the Majority Leader and Government to accept defeat, acknowledge the rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy by Parliament and focus on discussions on how to save the country from an imminent economic crisis.

“Parliament is governed by the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament and not the imagination and thinking of any Member. The Minority Caucus wishes to state that the Speaker applied strictly the rules, procedures and practices of the House and urged the public to ignore the allegations peddled by the Majority Caucus that sought to bring the image and reputation of the Speaker into disrepute. The Minority dismisses, with the contempt, the comments of the Majority Leader. Minority-Caucus-Press-Release-28.11.21-1Download

“It is the height of irresponsibility that the Nana Addo/Bawumia Government could not marshal the full strength of their Members of Parliament (MPs) to defend their 2022 budget before Parliament. It is a known fact that the 137 New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the one independent Members of Parliament constitute a majority group of 138 MPs of the Parliament of Ghana and thus outnumber the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which has 137 MPs. With this number which could secure them victory in any vote why did they run away from their own budget? There is no way the Standing Orders of Parliament or 1992 Constitution or supports
the Majority Leader’s position that the Budget has not been rejected. It is trite law that you cannot sleep on a right and wake up to claim it. How could Members of a Governing party walk out on their own budget? They walked out only to save their face and a damning humiliation.

They simply did not have the numbers to win any vote much more approve a Budget. Sadly, why did the NPP Members do the unthinkable and for the first time in our recent political history a so-called Majority side walked out on its own budget? Which serious governing party a critical matter such as the approval of an economic policy and budget brought by a government formed by their party. It is Ghana’s day of shame that the majority failed to stand their grounds and be counted as those who seek to impose killer taxes on our already suffering citizens.

We wish to reiterate that what happened after the majority group walked out of Parliament is perfectly legal and meets all constitutional standards and conventions of Parliament and any court will have a Herculean task to attempted to set it aside. The press statement of the NPP members of parliament claiming unconstitutional conduct by the very experienced Rt. Hon
Alban Sumana BAGBIN should be disregarded with all the contempt it deserves.”

It added “Parliament has duly rejected the 2022 Budget. Until and unless the Government removes the draconian taxes and revises contained in the rejected budget, the NDC Members of Parliament remain unable to support such policies.

“The solution to Ghana’s current crisis lies in cutting down on unprecedented levels of looting of public funds by NPP officials reflected in lavish lifestyles of NPP Government and party functionaries and reduction of unnecessary Government expenditure. Until there is value for money no additional taxes should be imposed on the already suffering masses of Ghanaians.

“The NDC caucus in Parliament calls on the public to remain steadfast in their expectations and conviction that the NDC caucus will remain committed to the cause of ordinary suffering Ghanaians.”

Parliament 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 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’.

Following this, the Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, accused the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, of partisanship in the manner which he handled the motion by the Finance Minister on the 2022 budget statement and economic policy of government.

The motion, as presided over by the Speaker on Friday, November 26 in the absence of the Majority, was lost.

But in spirited challenge to events that unfolded in the House on Friday, the Majority says the Speaker’s actions were unconstitutional and the legal references he fell on to go ahead with the votes were incongruous.

“We want to put it on record that the Speaker was totally wrong in what business he purportedly undertook in the House in our absence,” the Suame Member of Parliament said.

“Now, what exercise he led for our colleagues on the other side to take a decision on related to a request from the Minister to be allowed space to engage both sides of the House in order to have some consensus and the position that the two sides of the House had adopted.”

The longest-serving MP says he struggles to recollect in the current Republic when a prayer by a minister to revise a position on a motion has been denied by a Speaker.

“When has this happened?” he wondered.

“But be that it may [the Speaker] went ahead, did what he did in our absence because we were not in the chamber. Then went ahead to state that the motion on the budget as moved by the Minister of Finance on Wednesday, November 17 is lost.

“That whole procedure in unconstitutional. As far as we are concerned, it is null and void and it has no binding effect on anybody.”

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