Returning Bagbin wants Ofori-Atta to re-appear before House with amended budget

Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin is proposing that the Minister of Finance, Kenneth Nana Yaw Ofori-Atta, returns to the House with an amended statement of government’s financial policy for 2022.

The statement, he said on Thursday, December 16 when he returned to assume the Speaker’s seat after a fortnight in Dubai for a medical review, would have to include modifications and concessions proposed by the Minister.

On Friday, November 26, a one-sided House – dominated by the Minority – voice-voted to reject the 2022 budget statement.

That decision came after the Majority Caucus had walked out during proceedings that day.

That Caucus came back on Tuesday, November 30 – with First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu in the Speaker’s chair – to allow the Finance Minister move another motion, calling the decision on Friday, November 26 as “null and void”.

On Wednesday, December 1, the Finance Minister’s motion was adopted, meaning the 2022 budget was effectively approved, all done in the absence of the Minority, whose leadership vowed to reverse all decisions when Mr Bagbin returned from the United Arab Emirates, where he was seeking the medical review.

On Thursday, Speaker Bagbin described the decision by his first deputy as “strange”.

Bekwai MP Joseph Osei-Owusu is the First Deputy Speaker

He insinuated that just like the First Deputy Speaker overturned his ruling, he has every right to also overturn decisions made by the Bekwai Member of Parliament.

“However, Hon. Members we are where we are because we need to make progress on this matter in a manner that is consistent with our laws, and ensures we are allowing the governance of our country to thrive,” he indicated.

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The former National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP, therefore, said he has reached an agreement with leadership of the House based on a letter written by Mr Ofori-Atta to ask the Finance Minister return to Parliament with an amended statement.

“These modifications and concessions will then be adopted by the House and the revised document with the estimates will stand committed to the various Committees of Parliament.”

Already, Parliament is considering the Appropriation Bills of the budget with committees already discussing budget estimates.

“I am aware the Committees have begun consideration of the estimates. It would thus be their responsibility to reconcile the revised estimates with what they have hitherto considered and submit a report for the consideration of the House.”

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana