Attend parliament to defend your budget or forfeit it… Minority warns

Any minister who fails to attend upon parliament to defend his or her budgetary allocations will have to forfeit money to operate in 2023, the minority has warned.

“When we get to approval of budget estimates and ministers don’t appear in person by themselves, we will not support the approval of their budgetary allocations,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, threatened.

He gave this threat on the floor of the House on Thursday when the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, presented the Business Statement for next week to the House.

According to Haruna Iddrisu, it was time members of the Executive took parliament seriously for it to perform its constitutional mandate effectively.

“Ministers must take this House very seriously. Only ministers so appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to oversee the sectors must rise on their seats to move motions to ask for budgetary allocations and approval by this House.

“Majority Leader, I can assure you that we will stand down those motions,” he emphasised.

The minority, Mr Iddrisu vowed would put up what he called “the fiercest resistance” to ensure absentee ministers don’t get their budgetary allocations.

“If you are not interested in money to work, we will help you to sit home. So if ministers don’t appear in person to move motions for the budgetary allocations, they should expect the fiercest resistance from this [minority] side of the House.”

Specifically on the Ministry of Health, the Tamale South MP said any budgetary allocation without accountability on Agenda 111 would not be entertained.

The minority caucus, Mr Iddrisu said, remained committed to holding the government accountable and would do so to strengthen oversight.

He pleaded with the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, to indulge them and not protect or save any minister.

The debate of the 2023 budget statement and economic policy of government took off on Tuesday with the Majority Caucus registering very low turn.

Majority of ministers have also been missing in action with some of them seen on various social media platforms lending their support to the Black Stars at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.

The debate is expected to be concluded and estimates for Ministries, Departments and Agencies approved.

The Appropriation Bill would then be passed to give the Finance Minister the authority to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund and other public funds for the running of the country for the year 2023. 

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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