Yesterday, the parliament of Ghana rejected the proposed 2022 Budget and Economic Policy Statement that was presented to the house by the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on behalf of the President, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021
The majority of the house, the National Patriotic Party (NPP), staging a walkout as proceedings went on did not prevent the speaker from putting the motion forward for a decision to be made on the approval of the budget and thus it was rejected.
The majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu has now come out to say that the speaker’s ruling of the 2022 budget was unconstitutional and for that matter the decision made is null and void.
“That whole procedure was unconstitutional. As far as we are concerned, it’s null and void and has no binding effect on anybody. The motion on the budget as far as we are concerned hasn’t been pronounced on by Parliament, and it’s still standing in the name of the Finance Minister and in the fullness of time, a properly constituted house, not one presided over by the Rt Honorable Speaker will make the decision,” he said.
The argument of the majority leader is that per the standing orders of Parliament, a decision can only be made in the house when the MPs present are more than half of the total number.
He supported his argument by explaining further that the total number of NDC MPs present in the house were 135 and not 137, insisting that the numbers present in the chamber could not support the decision per the constitution.
“Article 104 (1) of the constitution says matters in Parliament shall be determined by the vote of the majority of members present and voting, with at least half of all members of Parliament present. We have cause to believe that at least 2 of the NDC MPs were not in the chamber and yet out of mischief, the Speaker said that they were 137″.
“In any event even if you go with 137, it is still less than one half of the 275 member of the chamber so when he puts the question, the Speaker should have known that the number would not support the decision of the House. So that purported decision is a nullity and does not have any effect on anybody,” he told the media.