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Only 3 majority MPs found in parliament when sitting resumed on 2024 budget approval

Only three members of the majority side of parliament were present in the House on Thursday, November 30, 2023, when proceedings to finalize the vote on the approval of the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy were about to resume.

Only 3 majority MPs found in parliament when sitting resumed on 2024 budget approval

Reports say Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu, Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh Dompreh, and Deputy Chief Whip Habib Iddrisu were present at the start of the proceedings.

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin had halted the session the previous day after completing debates on the budget. The intention was to proceed with a vote to pass the bill. However, a pivotal moment arose when the Speaker aimed to determine the outcome through a voice vote in favor of those supporting the 'Ayes.' Deputy Minority Leader Emmanuel Armarh Kofi Buah promptly contested this approach, advocating for a headcount instead.

Agreeing to the alternative suggestion, Bagbin's decision sparked heightened tensions in the House. Members from the Majority side objected to the proposal put forth by their minority counterparts. As emotions flared and tempers rose, Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin orchestrated an unexpected walkout from the House, with other colleagues following suit.

In response to the escalating situation, Speaker Alban Bagbin ultimately suspended the proceedings altogether.

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Meanwhile, Bagbin, on Thursday, November 30, 2023, reaffirmed that the 2024 budget statement remains unapproved. He, therefore, directed that the business committee reschedule it for next week.

“We don’t have to debate this matter. It is a matter of record, and I direct that the business committee should reschedule the issue for next week for us to finally take a decision on the budget. The budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year 2024 are still before the house, and so the business committee will reschedule it for next week,” he directed.

He rubbished claims by the majority side of the House that he was impartial in his ruling on the proceedings concerning the budget debate.

“So throughout the practice when it’s an opinion, you say I think, I think, that is an opinion I’m expressing. I think the ayes have it. Now an opportunity is created for somebody to challenge the opinion, and so when you read 113 (2), it doesn’t talk about ruling; it talks about the opinion. That's why it says a member may call for a headcount or division if the opinion of Mr. Speaker on a voice vote is challenged,” he explained.

The minority side of the House has vowed to reject the budget, describing it as empty because of some of its content they consider to be inimical to the suffering Ghanaian.

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