Daggers are now drawn and entrenched positions appear taken in Parliament, with the flexing of numerical muscles by both the Minority and Majority sides, following the "rejection" and "approval" of the 2022 Budget Statement, all within a period of five days.
Days after the Minority - in the absence of the Majority - "rejected" the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, the latter, not to be undone, and in a re-enactment of the movie "Two Can Play That Game", caused the same budget to be "approved".
But moments after the budget approval, the Minority in Parliament pooh-poohed the action by the Majority, describing it as a "constitutional nullity".
At a hurriedly arranged press conference after Tuesday’s one-sided sitting, the Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu, pointed out the manifest illegality saying the House lacked the required numbers to approve the Budget.
Whiles accusing the Majority of disrespecting the same constitution they claim to be upholding, Hon Iddrisu, who cited Article 104 (3) of the Constitution, and Standing Order 109 of Parliament to buttress his argument, was categorical that a "Deputy Speaker has no original or casting vote."
“Therefore if they claim that they respect the Constitution, they must respect the fact that today’s decision is a constitutional nullity because the Deputy Speaker has no original or casting vote. Nothing more. And therefore, they were at best, 137”, Haruna Iddrisu explained.
The brouhaha has to do with certain policies and initiatives in the 2022 Budget, which the minority wanted government to review and or possibly withdraw.
Earlier in the day (Tuesday morning), the leadership of the two caucuses met to jaw-jaw on possible compromises.
The Minority wanted the controversial Agyapa deal withdrawn, the proposed 1.75% E-levy reviewed to 1% and the threshold increased to Ghc200, inclusion of budgetary allocation for second phase of the Keta Sea Defence wall, amongst others.
With both sides not willing to back down on their positions, the meeting collapsed, following which the Majority went into the chamber without the Minority's presence, to conclude business of the day.
As a consequence of the Majority's action, Hon Iddrisu held that trust between the two caucuses has been broken and consensus building in Parliament trampled upon.
Thus, he said, decisions of the House will be based on "head counts", adding that the precedent set by the majority "will come and haunt them in future."
"We don’t support the E-levy in its current. Our point is to revise it to take care of the ordinary people.”
"From tomorrow every other decisions of parliament we will insist on head counts...If this is the way they want us to walk we are capable to walk with them....They have set and precedent that will come and haunt them in future. At the time that they were taking the decision the house was not 137," Hon Iddrisu added.
He disclosed that the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, had assured them that their concerns about the 2022 budget would be addressed at the committee level, but the Minority insisted that it must be rather captured in the original budget statement.
“If you are acknowledging and admitting that there were concessions, let it reflect in the statement” and not a meeting at the committee level," the Minority Leader stated.
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