Parliament approves 2024 Budget
Parliament on Thursday approved the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government for the year ending December 31, 2024.
This will allow the government to spend a total of GH¢ 259,052,474,750 from the Consolidated Fund and other public funds in the next financial year.
The approval followed a 138 to 136 headcount which saw the “Ayes” by the Majority have the day.
Announcing the outcome of the headcount, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, said: “At the end of the headcount, the “Ayes” are 138 and the “Nay” 136. Absent: One.
“Honourable members, the ‘Ayes” have it and this House accordingly approves the budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year ending December 31, 2024.”
The Majority Caucus was able to have a breakthrough as their members turned up in their numbers for a showdown with their colleagues on the other side of the House.
Although the Minority Caucus also had its members present in their numbers, the absence of the Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, did not help their bid to reject the budget after polling 136 “Nays”.
The Minority had attempted to resist the approval of the budget on grounds that it contained new tax handles that would not serve the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian and businesses.
These taxes are expected to rake in about GH¢ 11 billion for the government next year.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, was present in the House to witness the proceedings.
The Majority in Parliament on November 29, 2023, staged a walkout ahead of the approval of the budget.
The boycott came about after the Majority and the Minority Leaders had taken turns to wrap up a week-long debate and a presentation by the Minister of Finance in the House.
The Speaker of Parliament then put a voice vote on the motion and declared that the “Ayes” by the Majority had it.
But the Speaker’s ruling was challenged by the Minority on the grounds that there was no distinctive difference between the “Ayes” and the “Nays” by the Minority.
Invoking Order 113 (2), the Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, called for a headcount or division.
The Speaker heeded the request by the Deputy Minority leader and instructed the Clerks at the Table to conduct the headcount, saying that the names of each MP would be called out for him or her to stand up.
But the Majority strongly objected to the Speaker’s decision on grounds that he had earlier declared the “Ayes” in favour of the motion and should stand by his decision and disallow the headcount.
Consequently, members of the Majority Caucus staged a walkout from the Chamber, disrupting the approval process for the budget.
However, when the House was due to approve the budget the following day, most of the members of the Majority Caucus failed to show up.
They were, however, represented by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu; the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, and the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh.