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NPP Govt’s Signing of New Power Pacts is a Vindication of the Erstwhile NDC Govt Led by John Mahama

The Deputy Minority Leader and Member of Parliament for the Ellembele constituency, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has slammed the President Akufo Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government for signing two new Take-or-Pay Power Pact Agreements (PPAs) seeking to increase the country’s power generation capacity when they criticized such a decision as reckless when they were in opposition.
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Speaker’s Unfair Choice for a Division Led to Our Decision to Walkout of Parliament – Majority

The Majority Group in Ghana’s Parliament has asserted that the unsolicited choice of the Rt. Hon Speaker Alban Bagbin to resort to a “Division” instead of a “Headcount” was the cause of its decision to stage a walkout of Parliament on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, during the approval of the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy on the Floor of Parliament.

A statement by the Majority Caucus signed by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, on Thursday, November 30, 2023, recounted the events that had played out on the Floor of the House the previous day which had led to their eventual walkout of the House.

“Following the conclusion of the debate on the budget yesterday, the Speaker, as per the established protocol of the House, was to put the question regarding the approval of the policy and principles underpinning the budget. After a period of deliberation, the Speaker posed the question and announced that the “ayes” had it. Subsequently, the Deputy Minority Leader, Armah Kofi-Buah, rose on account of Order 113(2) to contest what he (Mr. Armah Kofi-Buah) deemed as a ruling by the Rt. Hon. Speaker. As a result of the challenge, he called for a headcount. This prompted an intervention from the Majority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader. They raised procedural issues in respect of the application brought before the Speaker.

“Despite the procedural objections raised, the Speaker declined to acknowledge these concerns and expressed his intention to proceed with a headcount as demanded. At this juncture, the leadership of the majority caucus insisted on their readiness to submit to the headcount that was being sought. The headcount, a process where members indicating “aye” or “no” rise to be counted, typically takes approximately 10 minutes. The results are then tallied by table officers and presented to the Speaker, who announces the outcome.

“Instead of sticking to the request of the headcount, the Speaker then said that he was drawing the attention of the House to the possibility of resorting to a division, and indeed the Speaker then called for a division. This came as a surprise to Members of the Majority Caucus, since no such application for a division had been presented to the Speaker.

“The decision to call for a division was certainly not the initial application.

“Leadership of the Majority, —well aware that under our rules, being absent during a headcount disqualifies a member from being recorded present, whereas in a division, absent members who rush in can be counted as participants, even if they were not present when the question was initially put-; moved to halt this process that would have allowed some of the minority MPs who were outside Accra at the time to be able to proceed to Parliament to be counted, even though the Majority was fully aware that it was not going to give the minority any advantage.

“This departure from the call for a headcount generated heat and was set to frustrate government business; at the same time undermining the sanctity of the parliamentary processes.

“Since 1993, Parliament has never resorted to a division in making decisions.

“The Majority concluded the choice for a division was unfair under the circumstances, leading to their decision to stage a walkout.

“It is essential to note that despite the Speaker’s indication that the “ayes” had prevailed, and despite a petition presented to him, a petition that hadn’t followed due process, the Speaker’s initial ruling on the “ayes” retaining their advantage stands. Consequently, the budget has been duly passed until the appeal for a headcount is dealt with, not the division that the Speaker had called.” Said, the statement.

Meanwhile, a press release issued on behalf of the Speaker by the Media Relations Department of the Parliament of Ghana has insisted that the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy is still before the House and that its fate will be decided in the subsequent week.

“The Parliament of Ghana wishes to bring it to the attention of the general public that the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government for the year ending 31st December 2024, is still before Parliament awaiting approval. A consensus approach is being pursued towards its approval.” The release said.

Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com

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