Parliament has approved the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2024, after a head count of members.
The majority had 138 votes, as opposed to 136 for the minority.
Speaker of Parliament Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, in declaring the results, said, “At the end of the headcount, the ‘ayes’ had it, implying that the majority in parliament had won the vote count and leaving the Speaker no choice but to declare the approval of the 2024 budget.
The Finance Minister, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, presented the budget to Parliament on November 15, this year.
On Wednesday, November 29, during voting to approve the budget, Mr. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the Deputy Minority Leader, challenged the opinion of the Speaker that “I think that the Ayes have it.” He therefore requested a head count.
The Deputy Minority Leader’s request was vehemently opposed by Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament and his Deputy, Mr. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin.
The Speaker’s decision to conduct a headcount with each MP standing up at his seat to be named and counted did not go well with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary Majority, leading to a walkout.
During the House’s sitting on Thursday, November 30, the Speaker directed that the Business Committee retable the motion for the approval of the budget to Thursday, December 7.
However, during Thursday, December 7, sitting, when the Speaker put the budget approval to a headcount, the 137 NPP MPs and one independent, Mr. Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the independent Member of Parliament for Fomena, voted to approve the budget by 138 votes.
After the counting, the speaker announced the results of 138 majority and 136 minority, with Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson absent due to a medical treatment he’s seeking in Canada.
Parliament, after the approval of the 2024 budget, will now move to consider the appropriations and pass the appropriations bill before the House rises on Friday, December 22, 2023.