The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, today presents the 2023 budget in Parliament, which has, perhaps, put majority of Ghanaians on edge for so many reasons.
From the current economic hardship leading to high cost of living to the demand from both majority and minority caucuses for the Finance Minister to step down because of the economic downturn, most Ghanaian are eager to hear what the Finance Minister has to offer.
All eyes will, therefore, be gazing at the Minister as he presents one of the most expectant budgets since the beginning country’s fourth republic.
Meanwhile, the Minority caucus in Parliament says it feels let down by the decision of their colleagues in the Majority not to support them in their quest to see the back of Finance Minister, MrOfori-Atta.
“We feel let down and betrayed by the Majority Caucus who have shown no wit in supporting us with our [censure] process within the letter and spirit of Article 82 of the 1992 Constitution,” Minority Leader, HarunaIddrisu, told the press in Parliament, in Accra yesterday.
His disappointment comes on the heels of a U-turn by the Majority to support Mr Ofori-Atta to present the 2023 budget statement and economic policy of government.
The Majority had threatened to boycott the budget presentation by Mr Ofori-Atta if he did not resign or get sacked by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
However, after a meeting with the leadership of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) late night on Tuesday, the caucus said the demand had been stood down until the passage of the Appropriation Bill.
“The meeting agreed that the President would act upon the initial request of the NPP Parliamentary Caucus after the [presentation of the budget, conclusion of negotiations with the IMF and the passage of the Appropriation Bill],” the statement, jointly signed by the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh , and General Secretary of the party, Justin KoduaFrimpong, said.
The Minority, however, said their reaction to the presentation of the budget today would be dependent on the posture of their colleagues in the majority.
“The country must run and won’t be grinded to a halt by the Minority but we will watch the posture and conduct of our colleagues opposite and that will determine our body language [today],” he hinted.
The U-turn by the Majority, Mr Iddrisu said, would not deter them from pushing for the removal of the minister through their censure motion.
“We are not abandoning our censureship motion. We are in it for the long haul and will insist that the letter and spirit of Article 82 is fully respected and [the matter] determined by a secret vote, ultimately after a debate on the report of the [ad hoc] committee which would have been presented to the plenary.
“We have no faith and confidence in the finance minister,” Mr Iddrisu, MP, Tamale South, reiterated.
He said when they embarked on the censure vote journey, they knew that they did not have the numbers to succeed but counted on the rebellious majority members to back them.
“When we initiated the motion, we firmly and sincerely believed that our friends opposite would walk the talk with us not on radio but on the floor.
“We cannot but feel let down and betrayed and for me, it is a stab on parliamentary oversight and only weakens parliament in exercising oversight in calling ministers to order” the Tamale South MP said.
In his view, President Nana Akufo-Addo has been recalcitrant towards public opinion and history would not be fair to him on the need for MrOfori-Atta to be axed from office.
“President Akufo-Addo will go down in history under the fourth republic as the president who most disrespected public opinion because as far as we are concerned, public opinion is not supportive and favourable to the continuous stay in office of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in spite of the failings.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI