Minority makes second attempt to quash budget approval

First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu
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Although their earlier motion to have the approval of the 2022 budget set aside failed, the Minority in Parliament has filed another motion seeking to quash the approval.

They believe that the Second Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei Owusu 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