Minority walks out as Parliament approves 2017 budget

A one-sided Parliament Wednesday approved the 2017 budget and financial policy of government that was presented to it by Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta without the support of the Minority. The Minority in Parliament walked out of the chamber prior to the approval of the budget. Early on, the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu made it clear to the house that his side “will not allow oil revenue to be used for consumption”. The Minority had also argued that the District Assembly Common Fund should not be cut as proposed by the budget. They also said the budget failed to show how spare parts imported into the country are going to be regulated after removing taxes on it. According to the Minority Deputy Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, if care is not taken importers may not reduce prices for the benefit of consumers. In this case, he said, the problem the budget seeks to eradicate will still persist. They, in unison, walked out of the chamber to express their disapproval of the budget. Speaking to Onua News, the Minority Chief Whip who also is the MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak said his side was shocked at the attitude of the Speaker Aaron Mike Oquaye. He claimed the Speaker neglected their standing orders as he failed to recognize some of the Minority Leaders who were on their feet to challenge the number of MPs that could constitute a quorum for such an approval. “We wanted the Speaker to know that Members in the chamber were not up to what could approve the budget,” he asserted. Nevertheless, the Speaker used simple majority to announce the approval of the budget, informing members that the number of the Majority at the time was 134 in addition to 20 members from the Minority. But this figure was challenged by Muntaka who insisted that the number of MPs present totaled 129. Parliament needs at least 139 for the exercise. Muntaka told Onua News that the Speaker as an experienced politician, who once served as a deputy Speaker, he must do away with politics and act fairly. The Finance Minister having listened to the debate of the budget statement since last week applauded the august house and commended their effort during the debate, acknowledging that it was educative. He touted the prospects of the budget and stated that government is in position to fulfill what have been proposed in the budget.

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By Onua FM |Owoahene Omari Acheampong |3news.com]]>