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Parliament has by a 138 to 136 majority decision, reapproved the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government for the fiscal year starting 1 January 2024.
On Thursday (7 December), after the motion to reapprove the Budget was moved by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, the House proceeded to a headcount to approve the statement.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, announced the result of the count, declaring that the “Ayes” have it and the “2024 Budget is accordingly approved”.
On Friday 29 November 2023, the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, allayed the fears of Ghanaians arising from speculation that the 2024 Budget had been rejected by Parliament.
On the contrary, Ofori-Atta said, the 2024 Budget had been passed but the Minority challenged the approval for the Budget at the sitting of the House on 29 November.
Speaker Bagbin ruled after a voice vote at the conclusion of the debate that the “Ayes” had it, which signalled that the Budget had been passed.
However, the deputy Minority leader, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, objected to the Speaker’s ruling and asked for a headcount to challenge the decision.
The Majority then raised concerns about the manner in which the Speaker was conducting the headcount, which, the caucus said, was biased in favour of the Minority and inconsistent with Parliament’s standing orders.
The Majority Caucus then walked out and boycotted the headcount, resulting in the initial suspension and subsequent adjournment of the House.
Speaking to the press after the suspension, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta said as far as he was concerned the 2024 Budget had been passed, because the Speaker’s ruling after the voice vote was in affirmation that the “Yes” vote had carried, approving the Budget.
He said the stand-off was a detail arising from the approval for the Budget and that the House would deal with it when it reconvened.
Parliament will now move to consider the appropriations and to pass the Appropriations Bill relating to the Budget before the House rises on Friday 22 December.