Parliament has approved the 2024 Budget Statement & Economic Policy.
This decision came after the Speaker, Alban Bagbin conducted a headcount on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
The budget itself was presented on Wednesday, November 15, by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
The headcount, conducted today, was initially resisted by Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
The headcount results are as follows:
However, the road to this passage was a dramatic one.
On November 29, the Majority staged a walkout during the approval of the statement, claiming the Speaker was conducting himself in an unfortunate and improper manner.
According to them, the Speaker, in his utterance following a voice vote on the floor that day, had ruled in favor of the Majority side, only to beat a retreat after the Minority had challenged the voice vote and demanded a headcount.
They further accused the Speaker of employing delay tactics to ensure that members on the Minority side who were not in the chamber could rush in to be counted after the Speaker had demanded that members stand after their names were mentioned to be counted.
“What is happening is that there are five members of the minority who are not here, so all that he’s doing is to play for time to enable them to come to the chamber. That is it, that’s all that it is,” the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had said.
However, making a case for his alleged u-turn, the Speaker said he had merely uttered an opinion and had not delivered a ruling.
He said, “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.”
On November 30, the Speaker directed the business committee to reschedule the headcount to today for a final decision to be taken on the budget.