Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (left), Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu (right)

The Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr John Kumah, says the Majority in Parliament is willing to engage the Minority on its conditions presented over the 2022 budget statement.

According to Dr Kumah, further engagements between the NPP and NDC Caucuses will be dependent on what suggestions they find reasonable and applicable.

He said the engagement is possible because the budget remains opened for approval, insisting that its rejection by the Speaker and the Minority side last week after the Majority staged a walk-out was unconstitutional.

“The budget has not been rejected. The constitution, Article 104 is clear, the Standing orders, Order 109 is clear. In all these, you require half Members of Parliament present for majority of them to take a decision.

“We are prepared to work with our friends on the other side to make sure we approve the 2022 budget. That is the request the Finance Minister made that he has heard their concerns, he is prepared to work with them and make the necessary input so we can all have consensus on the budget,” he stated.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, the Deputy Finance Minister indicated that due to a hung Parliament, it is prudent for consensus building by both sides of the House. He therefore encouraged further discussion despite the late timing.

“Ghanaians are expecting that both sides engage and talk to each other. I understand that we should have engaged earlier but it is better late than never,” he told hosts Winston Amoah and Kojo Yankson.

For Dr Kumah, the welfare of the Ghanaian citizen remains government’s priority hence the Majority side will not engage in politics or propaganda.

“We are prepared to engage. The budget we are preparing is not for the NPP but for Ghana. They are part of Ghana so where there is reasonability in the request, we are prepared to carry it on board. But we must see alternatives. We must see which options work better for the country. It is not about politics and propaganda.

“We are prepared to engage on any issue that they can offer a better alternative,” he reiterated.

His comments on Monday were in reaction to some five conditions set by the Minority over the approval of the 2022 budget.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Minority stressed that until government includes, reviews and withdraws certain policies and initiatives in the 2022 Budget, it will not approve the financial estimates.

The Minority wants government to withdraw the Agyapa deal and suspend the proposed 1.75% e-levy. The Minority has also advocated for a proper reconstruction of paragraph 829 of the Aker Energy deal relating to GNPC’s acquisition of stake from Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum.

In addition to these, the Minority wants government to review the benchmark value for imports as well as provide for the Keta tidal waves disaster.

Although the Deputy Finance Minister has described as sad the severe complaint and lack of alternative for the removal of the E-levy by the Minority, he assured further engagement between the two Groups.

“Beyond politics and propaganda, there is nothing that they are raising. You must be specific. If you are saying no E-levy, tell government we want you to use ABCD to raise revenue so that you can spend,” he bemoaned.

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