On Thursday December 16 2021 when the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, presided over proceedings after his trip outside the country, he referred to precedence in previous Parliaments of the Fourth Republic, to resolve the issue of quorum regarding the approval of the 2022 budget statement.
It is recalled that the Minority in Parliament had said earlier that the Majority did not have the numbers to enable them approve the 2022 budget statement.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu said at a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday November 30 that as of the time the Majority were taking the decision to approve the budget, they were 137 and not 138.
“The precedent they are setting will haunt them in the future. At the time that they were taking the decision the house was not 137.”
They further rejected the assurance by the Finance Ken Ofori-Atta that their concerns in the 2022 budget would be addressed at the committee level.
Haruna Iddrisu said that they wanted their concerns captured in the original budget
statement, not to be discussed at the committees’ sittings.
“If you are acknowledging and admitting that there were concessions, let it reflect in the statement” and not a meeting at the committee level.
He further stated that the Minority will oppose to the E-levy proposal in its current any day and anytime.
“We don’t support the E-levy in its current. Our point is to revise it to take care of the ordinary people.”
But during proceedings in Parliament, Mr Bagbin said “The following instances are quite instructive on this account; On the 20th of June 2002, the sitting of the House was suspended after an objection was raised by Hon. Kwakye Addo, MP for Afram Plains South for the absence of a quorum to commence public business.
“The Rt. Hon. Peter Ala-Adjetey began the process of adjourning the House until his attention was drawn to the fact that Members had begun to fill the chamber. It is important to reiterate the comments of the then Majority Leader, Hon. Paapa Owusu-Ankomah who cautioned that the issue of quorum be looked at since members could be in attendance at Committee sittings, and be conducting Parliamentary business, but not present on the Floor of the House and thus, not counted for the purpose of forming a quorum. Hon. Paapa Owusu-Ankomah’s premise is viewed on a point of law.
“The issue of quorum is on members present in Parliament and not on the floor or in the Chamber of Parliament. Refer to Articles 102, 104, etc. Similarly, on the 22nd of February 2014, this House stood adjourned when the issue lack of quorum was raised by Hon. Afenyo-Markin.
“Again, on the 9th of November 2018, it was Hon. K.T Hammond who raised the issue of lack of quorum in the House during the consideration of the RTI Bill. On 20th November 2019, Rt. Hon. Speaker Prof. Ocquaye suspended sitting after the Hon. Mahama Ayariga indicated that the House did not have the numbers to continue the debate on the 2020 Budget. Again, in this instance the issue of quorum was raised by a member during the proceedings.
“Hon. Members, what the precedents tell us, and they abound, is that the issue of lack of quorum is usually raised by a Member of the Hose or the Speaker himself having regard to the numbers in the House may ask for an adjournment or suspension of sitting due to the absence of a quorum.”