Parliament rejects budget: How will govt fund its operations?

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson

With Parliament rejecting the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, the question now is how will government fund its operations in 2022.

Article 178 of the 1992 Constitution gives Parliament the sole authority to approve funds for government’s expenditure.

It stipulates that “no money shall be withdrawn from the consolidated fund” except the money has been authorised by an Appropriation Act, or by a supplementary estimate approved by a resolution of Parliament or by an Act of Parliament”

This is why per Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution, the Finance Minister representing the President, lays before Parliament a budget one month before the expiration of the financial year to be passed into an Appropriation Act.

Emergency funding

The Constitution envisages a situation where Parliament will reject the budget of the government and therefore made provisions for it.

Per Article 180 of the 1992 Constitution, if it appears that the Appropriation Act (the Bill passed by Parliament after approving the budget ) will not come into operation at the beginning of the financial year, the President, with the “prior approval of Parliament by a resolution, authorise the withdrawal of moneys from the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on the services of the Government” for three months before the coming into force of the Appropriation Act.

This means that if by January 2022, a budget has not been passed by Parliament, President Akufo-Addo can seek approval from Parliament and withdraw moneys from the Consolidated Fund to meet government expenditure for three months.

This emergency funding can be activated every three months until the budget is finally passed by Parliament.

It must be noted that without Parliament approving the activation of this emergency funding , government business will grind to a halt, as the government will be unable to pay salaries of workers and also meet other expenditures.

This phenomenon although new in Ghana is common in the US , where the US Senate sometimes refuses to pass the budget and also fail to pass an emergency funding leading to the shutdown of some government services.

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