In a surprising turn of events, the Majority Caucus of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) made a hasty retreat from the parliamentary chamber on Wednesday, abandoning government's 2024 budget statement and economic policy.
The sudden exit was prompted by the Caucus's inability to muster sufficient support for parliamentary proceedings.
The Speaker of Parliament initiated a voice vote on the budget, intending to determine the majority's stance. However, the voice vote faced a challenge under Order 113 (2) of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
Despite the Speaker twice putting the question for a voice vote and opining that “the ayes have it,” Deputy Minority Leader Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah contested this under order 113 (2), necessitating a head count of all present Members of Parliament.
As the Speaker ruled in favour of the headcount, signalling a potential defeat for the Majority, members from the NPP Caucus began leaving the chamber abruptly.
Speaker of Parliament, in response to the unexpected turn of events, suspended the House temporarily and upon its resumption, adjourned proceedings until Thursday, November 30, 2023. Consequently, the 2024 budget remains unapproved as of now.
Throughout the budget debate, the NDC Minority Group consistently voiced their refusal to support the government's proposed new taxes.
They argued that the country's high poverty levels and the existing strain on businesses would be exacerbated by additional financial burdens.
Hon. Cassiel Ato Forson (PhD), the Minority Leader, emphasized that the NDC Minority could not, in good conscience, endorse the budget's principles at this time.
The unexpected departure of the Majority Caucus has cast a shadow over the approval of the 2024 budget, setting the stage for further political deliberations and potential revisions in the coming days.