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Parliament Versus The Executive Fight: Is A Government Shutdown Imminent?

The legislator, through its leader Alban Bagbin, has notified its decision not to approve the 2021 budget if the executive does not change its position on the parliament's budget cap.

This was after the executive, through the executive secretary of parliament, wrote to parliament informing it of a decision to cut its budget due to lack of budget space.

Addressing the house, Alban Bagbin said: “the budget is not for the executive, we have the final power to approve or disapprove and so what the constitution has done is for them to make recommendations and negotiate during budget deliberations in the House. .

“It's not up to the executive to put a cap on the judiciary or parliament, it has to do the right thing. And so when thinking about the estimated budget, in particular the committees concerned, take this into account and at the end of the day come and explain to us the negotiated figure and not the ceiling that was given by the president, that is to say - say not the internment of the constitution of 1992. "

The Speaker of Parliament added: "If you do otherwise, as your Speaker I will not affirm any letter to be submitted to the Speaker for his assent, I mean what I say."

Possibility of government shutdown

According to information available to GhanaWeb, Parliament has barely 13 days to take a break for the first quarter.

The Supplementary Budget which was presented by Finance Minister Ken Ofori in October 2020 will expire on the same day - March 31, 2021.

If by then Parliament and the executive have not reached a compromise, funding for all government activities will cease.

What is a government shutdown

A government shutdown is when "there is a failure to pass the necessary funding legislation that will fund the government for its next fiscal year."

In the event of a government shutdown, non-essential services will cease to function while essential services such as health and safety service providers will continue to function.

Government institutions can rely on cash reserves to fund their operations, but once that is done or if there are no reserves, they will have to close.

ACEPA is worried but hopes for a solution

In an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb, the executive director of the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs confirms the possibility of a government shutdown but expresses the hope that a solution will be found before March 31, 2021.

“I suspect no one would want to come to this, so I think there will be a compromise. There could be a government shutdown because there was an installment vote for the government to operate during an election year so that the first quarter could be taken care of. Beyond March 31, if a solution is not found and the government has no money, maybe everything will stop.

“America can afford it because although people depend on government, but few people depend on government for their daily livelihood. If there is a shutdown in Ghana, people will lose lives because most of the people depend on the government for their daily livelihoods. I am sure our leaders are aware of this and I suspect that common ground will be reached and a workable compromise will be reached. "

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Alban Bagbin


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