The Minority Caucus in Parliament Tuesday registered their unhappiness about the absence of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister for the debate on the 2023 Budget.
Parliament on Tuesday, November 29, began the debate on the Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending December 31, 2023.
By Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), Mr Ofori-Atta on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presented the 2023 annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government to Parliament on Thursday, November 24.
However, before the debate, some Members of Parliament (MPs), particularly from the Majority side, were not in the chamber to participate in the debate.
To that end, MPs of the Minority Caucus expressed worry over the development and called on Mr Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, to suspend the debate until Mr Ofori-Atta appeared before the House.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, Deputy Minority whip, said the absence of the Finance Minister was a clear indication that he was not ready for the job.
He said: “Mr Speaker, it is only appropriate that the Finance Minister must be here. If he is not ready to do the job, he should let the House know. He must be here for us to make our inputs, we are in a critical stage as a country.”
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Majority Leader, explained that the absence of Mr Ofori-Atta did not constitute a breach of the law.
In his ruling, Mr Bagbin Speaker of Parliament told the MPs that Mr Ofori-Atta had sought permission to partake in some other national assignment hence the need for the debate to commence with the presence of the Deputy Finance Ministers.
The exercise allowed the MPs the opportunity to participate in the national discourse on the Economic Policy of the government through well-researched and informed discussion.