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Thursday, February 29, 2024

We have to use the same ‘text’ for Estimates, Appropriation and Revenue Bills approval – Oppong Nkrumah –

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said the process used in approving the 2024 budget will have to apply in considering the Estimates, the Appropriation and the Revenue Bills.

This was after he accused the Minority in Parliament of always wanting to play the numbers game given the composition of this parliament where both sides control 137-137 seats each and then one independent Member of Parliament.

Whereas the Lawmakers on the government side play the balancing act, the Minority for the part attaches partisans interest to the issues in parliament such as the approval of government budgets, he added.

Asked whether the concerns raised by the Minority in the 2024 budget statement are going to be addressed after the approval of the budget, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, also a lawmaker for Ofoase Ayirebi said on the Ghana Tonight show on TV3 Thursday, December 7 that “By now there should be enough evidence that whenever concerns are raised and when considered as legitimate, the government does not shy to accommodate those concerns.

“Even in the issue of the [Import Restriction] Legislative Instrument, there is enough evidence where there are concerns that are considered legitimate government is willing to do the needful to engage further or to do the necessary amendments.

“Still, I think it is also clear to everybody by now that our colleagues on the minority side because of the numbers in parliament sometimes choose to play the political game of pushing in it to the numbers. So we on the government side have walked a balancing act, are there legitimate interests in this particular matter that must be addressed and if they are, we address them? Still, where you are clear that there are no such interests, that it is purely partisan politics that is being played then you also have to ensure when the vote is called you have your numbers get to get to get that vote.”

He added “for the remaining three processes – the Estimates,  the Appropriation Bill, and the Revenue Bills,  we have to use the same text going forward.”

The 2024 budget statement was approved by Parliament on Thursday, December 7 after a headcount.

At the end of the headcount, the speaker said that 138 members said ‘ayes’, and 136 said no

Accordingly, the speaker the budget has been approved.

“This house has accordingly approved the budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year ending 31st December 2024,” the speaker said.

Parliament could not approve the budget on Wednesday, November 29 after the Majority side of the House boycotted proceedings, making it the second time they are walking out on their own budget after they first did so on the 2022 budget statement which introduced the e-levy.

They disagreed with the way Mr Bagbin was conducting the business. They accused the Speaker of delaying proceedings in order for the Minority to have their full numbers in the House.

“Sam George is not here, Zanetor is not here, Mahama Ayariga, is not here so five of their members are not here. All the speaker is doing is to delay time for their members to come,” Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told journalists after they walked out.

The Speaker had to suspend sitting.

Ningo-Prampram Lawmaker Samuel Nartey George, however, rubbished the claim that he was not in Parliament.

The Minority Leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson accused the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of lacking the numbers to approve the 2024 budget statement.

Addressing the press, Dr Ato Forson said “The NPP does not have the numbers to approve their own budget, sensing defeat they decided to walk out. The NDC MPs were ready to vote against the budget.

“Our position is that we can allow the budget to go through in its current form, because the ordinary Ghanaian will suffer. John Kumah is not here, Kennedy Agyapong is not here and sensing defeat they walked out, we will not stop, we will do what we have to do. The Budget has not been approved.”

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