Aggrieved members of the Majority Caucus in Parliament did not hide their disapproval of Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta when he appeared to present the 2023 budget statement on Thursday.
Per reliable information available DGN Online, the aggrieved lawmakers in the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) paid less attention to the Finance Minister’s as they were glued to their phones, exhibiting their disdain towards him.
The majority group insists Ofori-Atta must go for the economy to recover saying that his presence is inimical to Ghana’s economy recovery.
The MPs were mostly seen fidgeting with their electronic gadgets, especially mobile phones whiles the Finance Minister was busily reading the budget in Parliament last Thursday November 24, 2022.
This has left many people surprise and wondering why they decided to be present in the chamber knowing that they won’t participate in the budget.
Interestingly, the MPs were also said to have gone dump and deaf throughout the presentation, indicating that their presence in the house was not their wish.
The NPP MPs had agreed to offer their support to the Finance Minister during the 2023 budget statement after initial rejection.
The MPs had threatened to boycott the 2023 budget presentation if the Ken Ofori-Atta is the one assigned to present it.
They have rescinded their decision after the NPP leadership and the leadership of the Majority have spoken to them.
Kwame Andy Appiah-Kubi, Asante-Akyim North and leader of the group, pointrd out they have asked not to discriminate against anyone who appears to present the budget including Mr Ofori-Atta.
He was hopeful that their constituents will understand them when they comply with the directive by the leadership.
Mr Appiah-Kubi who said this a day before the presentation after a crunch meeting on 3FM Wednesday November 23, 2022 and monitored by DGN Online explained that “We have been told not to discriminate against anyone chosen to present the budget, including Ken Ofori-Atta. We expect our constituents to understand us. The mother party has spoken.”
Prior to this decision, the majority caucus served notice that they will boycott Parliament if Mr Ofori-Atta was the one to present the document.
They wanted the President to sack Ken Ofori-Atta as a result of the current economic challenges.
He told journalists that “We’ve gone back to (our demand for the President to) sack him now and therefore should the budget be presented under the stamp of the Finance Minister, we’ll not participate because as far as we’re concerned we’re never going to do business with him.
“And if we’re not going to do business with him, he does not participate in any process from the Presidency to the House. We will not participate in deliberations too.”
However, following a crunch meeting in Accra on Tuesday November 22, 2022 the leadership of the party and the Majority group in Parliament in a statement co-signed by Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh and General Secretary of the NPP, Justin Kodua Frimpong, said “In the meantime, the leadership of the Parliamentary Group and the leadership of the party counselled the Honourbale Members of Parliamentary party to respect to the caucus communications channel, and to the largest extent possible, work together as one caucus unit.
“Leadership of the party in this regard call upon the Members of Parliament to attend to all Government Business in the House including in particular the 2023 budget statement and economic policy and all connected matters.”
Ken Ofori-Atta presented the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government to Parliament.
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
Ahead of the presentation, the Ministry of Finance said the budget would focus “on Government’s strategies to restore and stabilise the macro economy, build resilience, and promote inclusive growth and value creation”.
By Vincent Kubi