• Thu. Aug 4th, 2022

Bagbin explains why walkouts do not render parliamentary sessions invalid.

Members of Parliament staging walkouts do not invalidate ongoing parliamentary procedures, according to Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin.

He claims that walkouts are legal ways for members of Parliament to express their dissatisfactions, and that the practice is part of parliamentary procedure.

The Speaker, speaking on the floor of Parliament on Thursday, said he had witnessed members of Parliament walk out of the chamber on numerous occasions since 1997.

“Honourable members, staging a walkout is a legal form of protest that is part of our parliamentary norms and procedures.” Since 1997, there have been multiple walkouts, with each side of the House using it as a legitimate instrument to express their dissatisfaction with one topic or another. Between 2001 and 2008, as the head of the Minority, I used it multiple times,” Alban Bagbin said.

As a result, Mr. Alban Bagbin pointed out that it is impossible to say that when MPs leave Parliament, the continuing processes become null and void.

The staging of a walkout, he noted, “does not render Parliament incapable of discharging its tasks.” I can think of a number of examples when walkouts and boycotts have never succeeded in delaying or preventing the house’s operation from continuing. But allow me to name only three. The Minority organized a boycott of the House on August 22, 2003, in protest of the National Health Insurance Authority, which was under consideration. One provision was opposed by the Minority. “I was the one who led the way out.”

The Speaker’s explanation follows an earlier decision in which the Majority suggested that their walkout on November 30th during budget negotiations rendered the House’s decision illegitimate. As a result, the Majority met in the Speaker’s absence and adopted the 2022 budget, which had previously been rejected.

When members of Parliament walk out of the chamber in protest at a decision, the Speaker stressed that it does not prohibit Parliament from carrying on with its business for the day.

The Speaker, speaking about the 1st Deputy Speaker’s decision to count himself as part of the House quorum, said the move presents a procedural problem for Parliament.

On the substance of the 2022 budget, Alban Bagbin stated that the budget has previously undergone many previous engagements and that the House has to go forward. According to him, a permanent decision must be made to ensure the country’s peaceful governance.

In this context, the Speaker suggested that the Finance Minister appear before Parliament and present the freshly prepared electronic transaction bill. According to the Speaker, this would assist to bring closure to the contentious e-levy, which has become a point of contention in the debate over the budget for 2022.

Meanwhile, the Minority has stated that it will oppose any proposal by the government to charge a 1.75 percent e-levy on Ghanaians. This is because the Minority believes the levy is’regressive’ and will put Ghanaians in a difficult position.

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