In a dramatic turn of events during the 2024 budget approval process on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, Majority Members of Parliament staged a walkout following a dispute over the Speaker's declaration of a voice vote in favour of the budget.
Speaker Alban Bagbin's ruling prompted Minority MPs to call for a head count, leading to frustration among the Majority who subsequently left the chamber.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, who presented the budget on November 15, 2023, asserted that the budget had been passed based on the Speaker's declaration.
"At the end of the day, the Speaker put it to vote twice, and he declared that the ‘ayes’ have it. That means the budget, in my view, has been passed. Later, there was a challenge, which has not been resolved. So far as I know and believe, we have the 2024 budget passed. Until such time they want to resolve whatever they want to resolve.”
However, Minority Leader Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson contested this, stating that the budget had not been approved in its current form, emphasising the opposition's refusal to support it.
“The NPP has been defeated in a grand style. This is the second time the NPP has run away from their own budget, second time in the history of Ghana, sensing defeat. We have got them and will get them again. The fact is that the NPP doesn’t have the numbers to approve their own budget. NDC MPs were ready to vote against the budget for a very good reason. We cannot allow this budget to go through in its current form, because the ordinary Ghanaian will suffer.” Dr Forson stated.
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also reaffirmed the Finance Minister's comment.
“You were all there you heard the speaker loud and clear, why should a speaker beat such a hasty retreat from what he has said. In this case, he said the 'ayes' have it. Then you have the speaker making a sudden U-turn that he didn’t add that the Is have it. He just expressed an opinion. And that’s most unfortunate. So, we think that the proper thing should be done".
"We agreed for the head count, what was he waiting for? For good about 30 minutes he was not doing anything. What kind of attitudes is this? That is why we left the chamber. Five MPs of minority are not here so all that he’s doing is to play for time to enable them to find a way into the chamber. That is it, that is all that it is.” Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.