Reversal of budget rejection unconstitutional – Minority

The National Democratic Congress formed  Minority caucus in Parliament has described as unconstitutional, the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of government. 

The House, constituted by the New Patriotic Party Majority side, in the absence of their Minority colleagues approved the budget at a sitting in Accra on Tuesday.

Presided over by the Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the House on Friday rejected the budget with 137 votes in opposition to the document after the Majority bench staged a walk-out in the middle of proceeding. 

The Majority, however, dismissed that rejection and promised that “in the fullness of time, a properly constituted House, not one presided over by the Rt Honorable Speaker [Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin], will make the decision”. 

At a sitting on Tuesday, the House, with 138 Members including the presiding Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, overturned Friday’s decision on the back that the House did not have at least half of Members present in line with Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution. 

But addressing journalists after the approval on Tuesday, the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, said the “purported approval” was a slap in the face of the law.

According to Haruna Iddrisu, it was unthinkable that they in the Minority do not have the power to reject the budget with 274 lawmakers recorded as being in the House but their colleagues in the Majority could do so with 138 including the Second Deputy Speaker could overturn same. 

“If they claim that they respect the Constitution, they must respect the fact that today’s decision is a constitutional nullity because the Deputy Speaker has no original or casting vote. Nothing more. And therefore, they were at best, 137”, Haruna Iddrisu explained.

He added that “Standing Order 109:2 reads that Mr Speaker has neither an original nor a casting vote and if upon any question before the House, the votes are equally divided, the motion shall be lost.

“A Deputy Speaker or any other Member, presiding, shall not retain his original vote while presiding.

“So, constitutionally they were also 137, so Ghanaians should also expect that what they had done is also a nullity to quote them if we are to respect the provisions of the Constitution.”

Going forward, Haruna Iddrisu said his side of the House would resort to the use of headcounts in determining all issues which would come before the House.

“The precedent they are setting will haunt them in the future. Consensus has suffered and will continue to suffer” he said adding that they would take a cue from the conduct of their colleagues. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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