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Approval of the 2022 Budget: Parliament’s Stalled Positions Have Consequences – ACEPA

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The African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) has cautioned that the Majority and Minority of the House’s entrenched stances will have an impact on parliamentary business and the country’s democratic procedures.

“If the existing enmity between the two sides is not resolved swiftly, it will have disastrous effects for the country’s democratic dispensation and decrease investor confidence in the economy,” the report warned.

After the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu declared Parliament’s rejection of the budget null and void on November 26, 2021, and indicated that the rejection of the budget by 137 minority members was unconstitutional and Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, erred in his ruling, the majority voted to approve the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

The Minority Caucus, on the other hand, has slammed the Majority’s approval of the 2022 budget, and Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, insisted at a press conference on November 30, 2021, that Mr Owusu’s action was null and void because the Majority lacked the required number of members to approve the budget.

“A deputy Speaker shall not maintain his original vote while presiding,” he explained, “therefore constitutionally they were also 137, so Ghanaians should expect what they did to be a nullity and the precedent they are setting to plague them in the future.”

Regardless, ACEPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Rasheed Draman, suggested that rather than taking entrenched political positions, both sides of the House should begin to dialogue, and thus entreated leadership on both sides to walk down a path of building bridges rather than taking entrenched political positions.

“Some would say there are winners and losers, so there are winners on Friday and losers on Monday, as well as losers on Friday and winners on Monday, which is an interesting development, and we’ll see what happens in the coming days, but at the end of the day, the two sides cannot avoid trying to build bridges.”

“It’s critical because the acrimony we’re seeing right now isn’t going to bode well for the rest of the time we have with the eighth parliament,” Dr Draman said.

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