The 2024 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government has been successfully approved by Parliament, showcasing strong Majority Caucus support despite stiff opposition from the Minority Caucus.
In a narrow vote of 138-136, the NPP Majority sealed the passage of the budget, allowing the House to move forward with the various estimates for government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
Initially slated for approval on November 29, 2023, the session was disrupted when members of the Majority staged a walkout, accusing House Speaker Alban S.K. Bagbin of favoring the Minority by delaying the process.
The crux of the issue revolved around the Speaker’s approach to a headcount, a method contested by the opposition members who sought to prevent the budget’s approval through a voice vote.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu expressed dissatisfaction, highlighting that the Speaker’s handling of the situation was geared towards accommodating absent Minority members. He emphasized that the Speaker’s decision to delay the headcount was perceived as an attempt to wait for these absent members to return, prolonging the proceedings.
The session’s tension escalated when Deputy Minority Leader Emmanuel Kofi Buah called for a headcount, which was met with resistance from the Majority. The Speaker’s initial declaration that “the ayes have it” and subsequent retraction added fuel to the discontent.
Efforts to halt the headcount, citing constitutional breaches, were dismissed by the Speaker, leading to both sides rallying their members for the crucial vote.
In the end, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) emerged victorious as all their lawmakers voted collectively in favor of the budget, securing its passage amidst the tumultuous parliamentary atmosphere.