Mr Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, has said nothing untoward was done in the passage of the three revenue bills despite the absence of some Members of Parliament on Friday.
“Honourable Members, I did not do anything untoward. I only followed the rules.
“Members who are incapacitated shall upon reporting their incapacity to the Speaker through the Clerk be recorded. We have some of our members that are incapacitated and what I did was to ask the Whips to go and physically see them to assess their incapacitation and whether they are of sound mind,” Mr Bagbin explained.
Members of Parliament (MPs) Mr Mohammed Hardi Tuferu, MP for Nanton Constituency and Mr Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West were unavailable during the head count that saw the approval of the three revenue Bills.
Mr Tuferu, also a Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture was reported to be involved in an accident on Friday while on his way to the House to participate in a vote on the financial bills under consideration
As a result, Mr Tuferu was driven to the house in an ambulance with Whips on both sides of the house directed by the Speaker to confirm the situation.
Parliament on Friday, March 31, 2023, by 137 votes to 136 passed the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The passage of the Bill followed a lengthy disagreement between the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority and the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Mr Bagbin at the end of a headcount declared that “yeas” was 137 and the “nays” was 136.
Among the objects of the Bill is to amend the Excise Duty Act, 2014 (Act 878) to revise the excise tax rates for cigarettes and other tobacco products to conform with the ECOWAS Protocols and raise revenue to mitigate the harmful effects of these excisable products.
It also seeks to impose excise duty on sweetened beverages and electronic cigarettes, and electronic liquids to increase revenue.
The House also passed the Income Tax (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2022 which seeks to amend the Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) to revise the rates of income tax for individuals and introduce an additional income tax bracket while the Growth and Sustainability Bill, 2022 to impose a special levy to be known as the Growth and Sustainability Levy to raise revenue for the growth and fiscal sustainability of the economy was also passed.