The Minority caucus in parliament has called for calm ahead of the next parliamentary sitting as both sides of the House stand their ground on whether or not the 2022 budget has been rejected.
Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson, insists the majority MPs would have to extend an olive branch to their counterparts on the opposing side despite they denouncing the rejection of the budget.
“Cool heads must prevail. They (NPP Caucus) have to really understand that there’s the need for them to engage and I am urging them as a government that they should live above this politics and understand this is a hung parliament; they should understand that the only way to carry this country forward is to engage. Let’s sit around the table and engage. Accept the views of the Minority and tell us what you can do in a form of concession, so we move the country forward,” he said on Newsfile on Saturday, November 27, 2022.
Parliament on Friday, November 26, 2021, in a voice vote, rejected the 2022 budget statement and economic policy after an earlier walkout staged by majority members of parliament.
The walkout was in protest of the presence of Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the public gallery of parliament after the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, had directed for non-MPs to vacate the chamber for the vote of “division” process to begin.
The Speaker had earlier ruled on a voice vote denying the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the opportunity to engage the leadership of parliament ahead of the voting on the budget.
But this was challenged by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who requested for the vote on “division”.
Consequently, the finance minister and other non-MPs were directed by the Speaker to leave the House for the process to commence. The majority MPs also insisted Asiedu Nketia, who was sitting in the public gallery, must also leave arguing that he was not an MP.
After a series of back and forth, the Majority MPs staged a walkout after it became clear that Asiedu Nketia would not vacate the premise.
In a chaotic atmosphere, the Speaker suspended sitting for five minutes and returned later to continue with the business of the House with only Minority MPs present who in a voice vote rejected the budget.
Meanwhile, the Majority say the rejection of the budget is of no effect and not binding on Parliament. They contend that the budget still stands.
Parliament is expected to sit on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.