Minority angry over Ofori-Atta’s absence from budget debate
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament has questioned why the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta could not make it to the budget debate in Parliament today.
The Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, who raised the concerns said he cannot fathom what could prevent the Minister for Finance and his two deputies from making themselves available to the House.
He expressed worry since they were not present in order to hear and revert to the President alternative proposal that would come up during the deliberations on the budget.
“The Minister of Finance moved a motion on behalf of the president. We are debating the motion to make alternative inputs to be sent to the president, who sent him to bring the motion to us, Mr. Speaker, where is the mover of the motion? This house must not be taken for granted.
“If the President sends you to bring us the budget statement and Economic Policy, it’s necessary we are going to suggest alternative solutions. The Minister for finance must be here, to take notice of all the alternative solutions that are going to be proposed and send it to the president. At least one of them must be here, Mr. Speaker where are they,” Hon Ibrahim quizzed.
However, the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, in responding to the difficulties from the Minority side said they (Minority) wants to score cheap political points with the least opportunity.
“Mr. I am surprised at the Deputy Minority Whip. The Finance Minister and his deputies, joined Parliament in Ho for the post-budget workshop. They take parliament seriously. Mr. Speaker, they (Minority) have been in government before and they know in moments like these, the Ministry will be engaged in a lot of activities.
“Mr. Speaker, if it is all about every day trying to score cheap political points, they may do so,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu, who sat in for the Speaker, Alban Bagbin in ruling on the disagreements said “there are senior analysts from the Ministry in House” who can represent the Minister.
“Otherwise, could anybody here tell me where in our standing orders that says the Minister should be here,” he asked.