A former Senior Governance Adviser at the United Nations, Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah says the ongoing impasse between the Majority and Minority in Parliament over the 2022 Budget is preventable.
Speaking to Francis Abban on Morning Starr Thursday, Prof. Agyeman-Duah stated that the current composition of Parliament should inform the government on how to deal with issues in the House.
According to him, both sides in the House should consider the nation’s interest and desist from the drama.
“The opposition party has given some five things they want to be addressed and so far, from what I am hearing the Finance Minister is ready to meet them halfway in other words there should be some compromises, that should be the essence.
“So one of the disappointments I have is what I may call the failure of leadership on the part of Parliament itself and the government. Leadership is when you are facing a potential crisis you quickly find ways to defuse the crisis. You don’t wait until you are neck-deep in the crisis before you should ask for help,” he advised.
The Minority in Parliament has said the action by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu in overturning the ruling of the Speaker has never happened in Parliamentary history.
Speaking to Francis Abban on Morning Starr Wednesday, the Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, said the Deputy Speaker rather engaged in what was alien to Parliament.
“The reversal or rejection of the decision of Parliament is done through a motion that should be done for 48 hours. So if the NPP group wanted to reverse the decision of Parliament that was executed on the 26th November 2021 last Friday. What they should have done is to file a motion and publish it for at least 48 hours then the motion would be moved on the floor of Parliament, seconded, and debated for a decision to be taken.
“But what happened on the floor of Parliament was something that we have never seen before in the history of the Parliament of Ghana. That the house took a decision and Mr. Speaker declared the votes and the Deputy Speaker comes to say that what the Speaker did was wrong and illegal and for that matter, he is nullifying the decision, is something we have not seen before,” he stated.
The Member of Parliament for Ketu North also disclosed that during an engagement with the Majority, they agreed to touch on Agyapa Deal and to work on Arker Energy, as well as make some provisions for the Keta Sea Defense Project among others.
“It is the Mobile Money Tax (MoMo) that they don’t want to touch. They think that the MoMo tax is the whole budget. If they don’t tax your MoMo they can’t make money to run the economy, so they don’t want to touch it.
“We want the MoMo tax to be completely removed for further negotiation with Civil Society Organization. Because we think that taxing MoMo is taxing capital and amount to double taxation,” he stated.
The Majority caucus in Parliament on Tuesday, November 30, approved the 2022 Budget statement after the NDC MPs boycotted proceedings after failing to reach an agreement with the Majority over the status of the budget.
While the Majority insisted the rejection of the budget last Friday was unlawful, the Minority maintains the House followed due process in rejecting it.
A Series of meetings to resolve the standoff yielded no results as the majority and the Executive stood on their grounds of not presenting a new budget.
All the 137 NDC MPs consequently boycotted today’s sitting without even registering their names in the attendance book.
Starr News sources within the Minority say the move is to stop the majority from using the first deputy speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu to undo a decision taken by parliament with Speaker, Alban Bagbin presiding to reject the budget.
The majority argued the 137 NDC MPs were short of the constitutionally mandated half of the total number of MPs for decision making. The decision by the minority is to also ensure the Majority is also left with 137 MPs with the first deputy speaker presiding.