The Minority says they are disappointed following the dismissal of their motion seeking to challenge the Speaker’s ruling that approved the 2022 budget statement.
Bongo Lawmaker, Edward Bawa believes that the Speaker did not exercise the power given him with discretion as is demanded by the 1991 constitution.
“First and foremost, our reaction is that we are disappointed. Yes, per our standing orders, it says that when you want to challenge the Speaker on a ruling he has made, you should come by a substantive motion. The order also indicates that it is within the right of My Speaker to either admit the motion or not.
“But our constitution also tells us that people who have been given the power of discretion, they should exercise that impartially , they do that without malice, they do that without capricious.
“We think that Mr Speaker’s ruling does not meet the test of the constitution, it is an unfortunate thing but for us as we have always indicated the approval of the budget statement and economic policy of the government in itself is not just the end.
“We still have an opportunity to deal with the various specifics from the committees that in terms of the estimates and the bill that would accompany the levy that has been imposed. So we will still continue our fight, this is just a split but we will still make sure that we mirror the aspirations and the concerns of Ghanaians in the approval of this budget,” he told TV3 on Saturday December 11.
First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu (Joewsie) rejected a motion filed by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu that was seeking to quash his earlier ruling for the approval of the 2022 budget statement.
“Please refer to your communication dated 7th December 2021 on the motion relating to a ruling of the Hon. First Deputy Speaker on Wednesday, 1st December 2021.
“The Hon. First Deputy Speaker, pursuant to Order 13(2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, has directed that I inform you that your motion is not admitted,” a letter signed by Cyril KO Nsiah, Clerk to Parliament, said.
Although their earlier motion to have the approval of the 2022 budget set aside failed, the Minority in Parliament filed another motion seeking to quash the approval.
They believed that the Second Deputy Speaker who presided over proceedings during the approval of the budget by Parliament without the Minority, and also during the first move to set aside the approval, erred in the way he handled the proceedings.
A motion which is dated 7th December 2021 and signed by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said “set aside the purported ruling of the 1st Deputy Speaker Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, MP, delivered on 1st December 2021 against the motion moved by the Honourable Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu and Seconded by the Hon Member of Bawku Central Mr Mahama Ayariga as captured on page 9 of the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday 1st December 2021. On grounds that It contravenes the rules, convention and practices of the House and was actuated by bias.”
During deliberations in the House on Wednesday December, 1 Joewise justified the approval of the 2022 budget statement.
He stated that a Deputy Speaker could not be described as a Speaker hence, arguments being against the number of MPs in the chamber as of the time of the approval of the budget could not hold.
“I am a member of Parliament, the Second Deputy Speaker is a Member of Parliament. Our work is to assist the Speaker. Any attempt to read and interpret the constitution to include Deputy Speakers is a misreading of the constitution.“
“When the Speaker is not around either of us can preside so like any other member. That member does not lose his right of being a member of the House.”
Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey had asked him not to set aside the approval.
He said said the approval of the budget statement by Parliament on Tuesday November 30 was constitutional
To that end, that particular motion by the Minority to reject the approval should be dismissed completely, he added.
The former Attorney General said the approval was grounded in law because the number of MPs required in parliament to take decision met the constitutional threshold.
“I urge you not to change your mind. What you did was grounded in the constitution, it is grounded in law,” he said.
For his part, a former Deputy Attorney General Dr Dominic Ayine asked persons quoting the constitution to support the approval of the 2022 budget to read the constitution as a whole to be able to arrive at a meaningful conclusion, a point that was supported by Mr Joe Ghartey.
Dr Ayine said those arguing for the approval of the budget could not pick and choose aspects of the constitution to support their points. Otherwise, he said, they will be wrong.
Contributing to the discussion on Wednesday December 1, the Bolgatanga East MP said “We think the decision that was taken yesterday grossly undermines the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu in moving that particular motion to overturn the approval said 137 lawmakers of the Majority could not have taken a decision.
He said they didn’t consider Joewise as Member of Parliament at the time he was sitting in as speaker hence, that leaves the number present at 137.
It is recalled that immediately after the approval of the budget last Tuesday, Haruna Iddrisu said that the Majority did not have the numbers to enable them approve the 2022 budget statement.
He said at a press conference in Parliament that as of the time the Majority were taking the decision to approve the budget, they were 137 and not 138.
“The precedent they are setting will haunt them in the future. At the time that they were taking the decision the house was not 137.”
They further rejected the assurance by the Finance Ken Ofori-Atta that their concerns in the 2022 budget would be addressed at the committee level.
Haruna Iddrisu said that they wanted their concerns captured in the original budget statement, not to be discussed at the committees’ sittings.
“If you are acknowledging and admitting that there were concessions, let it reflect in the statement” and not a meeting at the committee level.
He further stated that the Minority will oppose to the E-levy proposal in its current any day and anytime.
“We don’t support the E-levy in its current. Our point is to revise it to take care of the ordinary people.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana