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Speaker suspends Parliament for 30 minutes ahead of approval of 2022 Budget

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has suspended the sitting of the House for 30 minutes to allow members of the Majority to proceed to the Chamber for the conclusion of the debate on Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government for the 2022 financial year.

He informed the House that he had been informed by the Majority side that they wanted to have a 30-minutes caucus meeting before coming into the Chamber.

Sitting of the House was billed to commence exactly 10 a.m. today but as of 1 a.m. sitting had not started as no member from the Majority side was spotted in the House.

On the contrary, almost all Minority members were seen seated in their seats ready for proceedings to commence.

Proceedings only began at exactly 1.14 p.m. when the Speaker was ushered in yet there was a glaring absence of all members of the Majority in the Chamber.

‘I was not informed of any meeting’

Addressing Parliament ahead of the debate by the leadership of both sides ahead of the approval of the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy today, Mr Bagbin said “They (Majority) have alleged that I was informed but that definitely is untrue.

“I was informed early in the morning that both caucuses were having caucus meetings and that I am aware of.,” he stated.

According to him, he had initially wanted to allow the First Deputy Speaker to preside over the sitting but Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu left only come back later.

To curb agitation among members, he said he decided to preside the sitting himself, saying that “Nobody came and told me that they are having caucus meeting.”

“And that is why I came to preside only to realise that there is nobody on the side. So, I would plead with you for us to suspend sitting for 30 minutes for us to come back as a house, not half of the House to conclude the debate,” he said.

Reservation

The suspension of the sitting came after the Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, had drawn the House’s attention to the conspicuous absence of the Leader of the Government Business, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the leadership of the majority bench as well as the entire majority members from the Chamber.

Informing the House that the Minority leadership had a meeting with their counterparts from the Majority in the morning, Mr Ahmed alleged that the majority members were within the precinct of the Chamber and Parliament.

“For the Minority, our all our 137 members including the leadership are all here in the Chamber but the Leader of Government Business, for us to move government business, is not in the Chamber.

“Mr Speaker, I have gone to check the attendance list and honourable Dan Botwe was here; honourable Philip Basoa has signed but I do not know why they would come and sign and leave the Chamber,” he said.

Expressing concern that the Majority Chief Whip, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, held a press conference to accuse the minority of “doing propaganda with the government budget, Mr Ahmed said the duty of a government Chief Whip was to that business proceeded uninterrupted.

“We had a meeting together with you Mr Speaker and I wonder why they are running away from their own budget as in the history of this country such thing has never happened before.

“That a government brings its Economic Policy and financial statement and runs away from it; Mr Speaker, should we go ahead to pass the budget then Ghanaians will say that it was the Minority people who passed it,” he said.

Earlier at a press conference, Mr Annoh-Dompreh told the press the Majority were more ready to see to the passing of the budget more than the Minority and thus they will not allow cheap propaganda by the Minority to distract them.

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