The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has stated that a final decision on the 2024 Budget Statement and the Economic Policy will be taken on Thursday, December 7.
He, has therefore, directed the Business Committee of the House to reschedule the issue for the said date.
Mr Bagbin confirmed the date when he clarified the fate of the budget statement, saying it was still before the House.
“The Budget Statement and the Economic Policy of the government for the year ending December 31, 2024 is still before the House and it is not hanging,” he said.
Setting the record straight on whether the House approved or not the motion for the budget statement yesterday, Mr Bagbin said “Nobody has hanged the budget statement on any tree or anything.”
“It is still before the House and it is not a matter that the Speaker should be seen or heard debating in public because it is still before the House and the final decision will be taken most likely next week,” he said.
Set the record straight
The Speaker gave the clarification after the Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, had drawn the House’s attention to wrong public perception that the House had approved the budget statement contrary to what was captured in Wednesday’s Votes and Proceedings.
He said the misleading information in the public, led by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, created the impression that Parliament approved the budget statement after the headcount which was challenged by the Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Kofi Armah-Buah.
“Mr Speaker, this matter is grave and there is the need for us to set the record straight, particularly because a budget statement is an important document of state.
“Ghanaians have the impression that the budget statement has been approved while we here know that the budget has not been approved by Parliament of Ghana and it is important for people of Ghana to be made aware of,” he said.
Dr Ato Forson, therefore, called on the Majority Leader to correct the record and urge Ken Ofori Atta to desist from making further comment on the matter.
Headcount request rather hanging
Reacting, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said per the Votes and Proceedings, a question was put on the motion and the motion was agreed to but the Deputy Minority Leader subsequently sought a headcount motion.
“That request is the one that is hanging and that request has not sufficiently been addressed.
It is not the decision and that is the determination of the Speaker,” he said.
He told the House that when the Majority MPs “stepped out” of the Chamber, they did not misinform the public but “we related to the truth as happened in this House”.
“Mr Speaker, so we have not misinformed the public.
What we spoke to is captured in the Votes and Proceedings that the question on whether or not the motion for the approval of the budget statement should be done by this House was done and the “Ayes” have it,” he said.
Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu said it was a “tragedy” that some people did not understand the Speaker’s declaration.
Accusing the Deputy Minority Leader of abusing parliamentary processes, he said Mr Armah-Buah should have challenged the Speaker’s ruling by a substantive motion.
“Mr Speaker, the issues of the voice vote has been dispensed with, a pronouncement made on it and has been challenged and that is what has been advertised in the Order Paper. It has nothing to do with the voice vote has been declared.
Mr Speaker, if a ruling is given by a court and you appeal to the extent the appeal is not dispensed with, the ruling stands,” he said.
Members of the Majority Caucus in Parliament staged a walkout of the Chamber, disrupting the approval process of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government for the year ending December 31, 2024.
The walkout occurred after the Speaker of Parliament put the motion on a voice vote and declared the “Ayes” by the Majority as having carried the motion.