Leader of Government Business in Ghana's Parliament, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has disclosed that they are ready to engage the Minority and find a common ground for the approval of 2022 Budget, so long as the latter are prepared to make concessions.
To him, what happened in parliament last Friday cannot be regarded as a rejection of the 2022 budget.
Disregard for Proper Parliamentary Procedure But,
Speaking on Okay Fm's "Ade Akye Abia" programme, Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the NPP MP for Suame, described the actions of the Minority and Speaker of Parliament as an "illegality" and total disregard for proper parliamentary procedure.
"You will need to form a quorum before taking any decision on the floor of parliament. There's no where in the constitution that warrants what the speaker allowed to perpetuated in the house last Friday. As far as we are concerned, it’s null and void and has no binding effect on anybody.
"We even believed that 2 of the NDC MPs were not in the chamber and yet out of mischief, the Speaker said that they were 137. In any event, even if you go with 137, it is still less than one-half of the 275 members of the chamber so when he puts the question, the Speaker should have known that the number would not support the decision of the House. So that purported decision is a nullity and does not have any effect on anybody.
"In any case, the finance minister had come to the House to meet with leadership and address the concerns of the minority and see how best they can resolved but out of partisan position and mischief, the speaker refused," he stated.
Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, however, noted that the most important thing right now is how they can both engage each other on the budget to come to a common understanding.
"The interest of Ghanaians is very important to us and so will engage our brothers from the minority side on the way forward for the 2022 budget. But I can confidently tell you that the budget has not been rejected," the NPP MP for Suame added.
Demands Before Consensus
Meanwhile, the minority, in considering a revision of the 2022 budget, are making some 5 demands.
In a statement issued, the caucus are asking for the following to be addressed
1. Suspend the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy): The Government should suspend the E-Levy and properly engage stakeholders to agree on a reasonable policy. How can mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances be charged 1.75 percent? The policy is not retrogressive, not pro-poor, and does not support the much-touted digitalisation agenda and cash-lite economy that we all yearn for.
2. Withdrawal of Agyapa: The NDC Minority will not support any collateralisation of our revenues, particularly mineral resources. The future of our country will be bleak if we continue in that regard. We cannot jeopardise the future generations of our country just for our present desires.
3. Provide for Tidal Waves Disaster: The Government should incorporate in its revised Budget adequate measures to address the issue relating to the Tidal Waves Disaster in Keta and other communities. The victims should be supported. And the Phase II of the Blekusu Coastal Protection Project must find space in the Budget.
4. Properly re-construct the wording relating to the Aker Energy: Relating to GNPC acquisition of stake from Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum, the revised Budget should reconstruct paragraph 829 of the rejected Budget to reflect the decision of the House as captured on 6th August 2021 Votes and Proceedings of Parliament.
5. Review the Benchmark Value for Imports: Government should, in a revised Budget, reconsider paragraph 247 of the rejected Budget which sought to restore the Benchmark Values of imports by suspending the 50 percent discount on selected General Goods and the 30 percent discount on vehicles. Some concession should be given to the importers.
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