Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has reaffirmed his stance that the 2024 budget statement and economic policy has not been passed.
Yesterday, the Majority staged a walkout during the approval of the 2024 budget statement claiming the Speaker was conducting himself in an unfortunate and improper manner.
According to them, the Speaker in his utterance following a voice vote on the floor had ruled in favour of the Majority side only to beat a u-turn after the Minority had challenged the voice vote and demanded a headcount.
They further accused the Speaker of employing delay tactics to ensure that members on the Minority side who were not in the chamber could rush in to be counted after the Speaker had demanded that members stand after their names are mentioned to be counted.
However, making a case for his alleged u-turn, the Speaker said he had merely uttered an opinion and had not delivered a ruling.
He said, “So throughout the practice when it’s an opinion, you say I think, I think, that is opinion I’m expressing. I think the ayes have it. Now an opportunity is created for somebody to challenge the opinion and so when you read 113 (2) it doesn’t talk about ruling, it talks about the opinion that’s why it says a member may call for a headcount or division if the opinion of Mr Speaker on a voice vote is challenged.”
Today in Parliament, the Speaker directed the business committee to reschedule the headcount to next week for a final decision to be taken on the budget.
According to him, the matter is not up for debate.
“We don’t have to debate this matter. It is a matter of record and I direct that the business committee should reschedule the issue for next week for us to finally take a decision on the budget. The budget statement and economic policy of the government for the year 2024 is still before the house and so the business committee will reschedule it for next week,” he said.
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