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Parliament votes to throw out Akufo-Addo's 2022 Budget

Parliament on Friday, November 26, 2021, by a voice vote of all MPs present in the Chamber rejected the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December, 2022 as the Majority side of the House staged a walkout.

The House presided over by the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Alban Sumana Kinsford Bagbin took a voice vote to quash an earlier application that had been made by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta at the last minute asking to be given more time for further consultation with the leadership of the House before a conclusion of the debate on the 2022 Budget.

After the application was out of the way, the House took the motion on the Floor as to whether to approve the Budget or to reject it since they had concluded the debate on the motion. A head count was taken and those who were in favor of the motion had zero and those who were against it had 137.

Speaker Bagbin pronounced that those who were against the motion had won and therefore the motion had been defeated, and which effectively meant that the 2022 Budget had been blocked by the Minority.

These developments happened in the absence of the Majority Group made up of MPs from the Governing party the NPP, who had earlier staged a walkout in the middle of the approval of their own Budget statement in a protest over what was not too clear at the time.

Later in an address to the media, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu indicated that they had taken the decision to walk out in solidarity with the Finance Minister who had had to be sent out of the Chamber to allow for a second voice vote on the Minister's application for more time, since the Speaker's verdict on the first was challenged by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin.

The Deputy Majority Leader called for a Division under Order 114 of the Standing Orders of Parliament which states that, 

"Mr. Speaker shall direct that the lobbies be cleared" before the question is put for the second time. 

The Speaker explained this to mean that the reason the lobbies must be cleared is to get rid of all other members who have no voting rights in the Chamber including Ministers of State, so that the Speaker could make a clearer determination of the voice votes from the MPs only, for the second time.

According to the Majority Leader, the Speaker ought to have also ordered the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia who was observing proceedings of the House from the gallery of the Chamber. 

Based on this, the Majority Leader led his side out of the House out of the Chamber leaving the fate of the 2022 Budget to hung in a balance. 

Making it the first time a Majority walkout on Parliament during a crucial decision making process on a Budget prepared by its own Government.

Though the dust is yet to settle on the decision taken to reject the 2022 Budget in Parliament without the Majority, it appears there is more drama in the coming days on the issue.

Watch this space

Content created and supplied by: DumeviJeorge (via Opera News )

Alban Sumana Kinsford Bagbin Budget Chamber House Ken Ofori-Atta

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