2024 Budget approval: Fly back home now – Government orders absentee MPs

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader and MP for Suame

The government has issued a directive to all Members of Parliament (MPs) of the majority caucus who are currently abroad, to curtail their trips and promptly return for the approval of the 2024 budget and Economic Policy for the year ending December 31, 2023.

The announcement was made by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who is also Leader of Government Business in the Legislature during an interview.

The move is aimed at ensuring the presence of all MPs of the majority caucus in the House for the pivotal approval of the government’s economic policy.

The urgency stems from a recent incident during the 2024 budget approval process on November 29, 2023, where Majority MPs staged a walkout following a dispute over the Speaker’s declaration of a voice vote in favour of the budget.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who presented the budget on November 15, 2023, asserted that the budget had been passed based on the Speaker’s declaration.

However, this led to a call for a head count by Minority MPs, causing frustration among the Majority, who subsequently left the chamber.

Speaker Alban Bagbin clarified that the Budget Statement and the Economic Policy for the year ending December 31, 2024, are still before the House.

He emphasised that the final decision on the budget statement would be made on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

He directed the Business Committee to reschedule the issue for the specified date.

The clarification came after Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson drew attention to public perception, fueled by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, that the budget statement had been approved.

However, the votes and proceedings from Wednesday contradicted this, indicating that the budget had not been approved by the Parliament of Ghana.

Speaker Bagbin highlighted the gravity of the matter, emphasising the need to set the record straight on the status of the budget statement.

The Speaker affirmed that the budget is still before the House, and the final decision will be made in the upcoming week, urging the need for accurate information to be conveyed to the public.

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