Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta was a key subject in events that led to the Majority Group in Parliament walking out during the session meant to approve the 2022 budget statement.
He had presented the statement on November 17 following which Parliament started the debate on it for the better part of this week.
On the final day, November 26, 2021, he was back in Parliament with a request to engage with the leadership of the House on some pertinent issues before the approval vote but his request was referred to the House after deliberation between leadership.
Speaker Alban Bagbin refused to pronounce on Ofori-Atta’s prayer choosing to throw it to the house to decide but that process led to the Majority Group walking out because of unequal application of Parliamentary rules.
The issues that Ofori-Atta had gone to engage on were not made public until yesterday, November 27, 2021, when the Majority Leader disclosed them on Accra-based Joy FM’s News File programme.
He disclosed that the three issues had to do with the Aker Energy deal, the Blekusu Sea defence wall and matters related to allocations to Parliament.
“On the Aker Energy agreement… I brought to the attention of the Finance Minister that how it had been captured in the budget was inaccurate and that they could have looked at the request from the Minister of Energy when he came to Parliament. It finds expression in the request and also in the Hansard, the proper thing ought to have been done.
“The second thing also involved an issue that had been raised by the Honourable Okudzeto Ablakwa in respect of the Blekuso Sea defence wall. And when the Minister of Works and Housing came to relay to it, he said he had put in a request. Apparently, it went under the radar and the Minister was prepared to accommodate that.
“The Speaker himself on the day of the presentation of the budget… the Speaker raised issues about allocation to Parliament and we were going to deal with that. “So on this count, there are some major concessions that the Minister was going to come up with…”
He further confirmed that he did not have information on whether or not the Minister had any concessions to make relative to the E-levy. He referred to a number of policy proposals that were presented to MPs during a budget retreat held a week ago.
Budget rejected, Majority reject ‘rejection’
A one-sided House (the Minority Caucus en bloc) on Friday, November 26, voted to reject the 2022 Budget presented before the house by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on November 17.
The Majority Group had earlier walked out of the House after a disagreement with the Speaker on his order to have all non-MPs to leave the floor of the house for a crucial voice vote.
The vote in question was to determine whether a request by the Finance Minister for Parliament to give him time to consult with the leadership of the house on aspects of the budget before the approval vote is held.
Bagbin later allowed the 137 Minority MPs to vote on the Minister’s prayer, which was rejected before they also voted en bloc to reject the 2022 budget as presented by Ofori-Atta.
The Majority in a later press conference accused the Speaker of engaging in unconstitutionality vowing to right the wrong that the Speaker and the Minority committed when the House reconvenes coming Tuesday.