New Budget Pops Up


The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday raised serious questions about a new budget statement that had been brought to replace the old one presented in the House by the Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper, on Friday, November 13.

Debate on the budget was supposed to start yesterday but the Minority members were very insistent on one-third of MPs being present in the Chamber to constitute a quorum before debate could start, compelling the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton Odro, who was presiding, to suspend sitting for lack of quorum.

The MP for Kwabre East,  Kofi Frimpong, was particularly angry that 11 days after the reading of the budget, the Ministry Of Finance had brought an amended version to Parliament, which had neither been laid nor presented, stressing, “The president thought we were fast asleep in Parliament and wanted to sneak in the new version of the budget, but we want to tell him that this time round we are very much awake and will like to know which of the two budgets given to us is going to be used for the debate.”

Seth Terkper
The Majority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs were upset that the Minority caucus kept raising the issue of quorum to disrupt the business of the House but they (Minority members), led by the Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul, insisted that they wanted the House to function well by keeping to the rules.

“We are rather helping you the Majority because it will force your leadership to whip your members to attend Parliament and participate in the debate on the budget. We the Minority are ready to debate the budget,” the deputy minority leader said.

The MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu and MP for Bodi, Sampson Ahi, accused the Minority members of deliberately raising the issue of quorum and then walking out of the Chamber to create the impression that there was no quorum.

“Mr Speaker, just walk to the coffee bar and you will see about 35 Minority members sitting there drinking tea and sleeping,” Sampson Ahi said, stressing that it was a deliberate attempt to scuttle government business in the House because the president had described them (Minority) as ‘sleeping MPs.’

The Deputy Majority Leader, Alfred Agbesi, said the Minority members were running away to drink tea because they were afraid to debate the budget.

The MP for Old Tafo, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said he sympathised with the Majority, especially the deputy leader, because he was not in the right frame of mind to even organise his members – who are in the majority – to come to Parliament to do government business.

“You are in the majority so why can’t you whip your members to be present to debate your own government’s budget,’ Dr Akoto wondered.

The first deputy speaker, after listening to the heated debate on the quorum, suspended sitting to meet the leadership of both sides as to how best they could mobilise and encourage their members to participate in the debate which has been rescheduled for today.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr


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