President Nana Akufo-Addo has appointed Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as caretaker Finance Minister ahead of the lawmaker’s presentation of the 2021 budget and economic statement on Friday, 12 March 2021 in the stead of Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta, who is on a medical trip in the United States of America.
“I write respectfully to inform you that pursuant to Order 140 Rules 2 and 3 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, I have assigned temporarily responsibility for the Ministry of Finance to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Member of Parliament for Suame,” a letter from the President addressed to Speaker Alban Bagbin said.
Earlier, the Minority had threatened that if the President failed to officially notify Parliament that he has given the mandate of the Finance Minister to the Suame MP to deliver the budget on his behalf, then there was no guaranteeing that the lawmaker would be accommodated by a sane Parliament if he attempted to present the budget.
The threat was made by Deputy Minority Whip and MP for Banda, Ahmed Ibrahim.
“It’s not as if we have issues with Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, we know he is more than qualified to present the budget on behalf of His Excellency the President but we are creature of law as a house of Parliament. We are being governed by rules and regulations and our rules of procedures have clearly stated that the person to present the budget should be the Minister of Finance on behalf of the President”, Mr Ibrahim told Valentina Ofori-Afriyie on Class91.3FM’s mid-day news programme 12 Live on Thursday, 11 March 2021.
“So”, he explained, “the Minister responsible for finance is the one who is mandated by our standing orders, to present the budget on behalf of the President”.
“All we are saying is that, if there is not minister responsible for finance or the one responsible for finance is not a minister, the President must give that mandate to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to do the work with the responsibility as the minister responsible for finance to present the budget on behalf of the President”, he emphasised.
According to Mr Ibrahim, the Majority Leader has not been given the power to act as the minister responsible for finance but is “just carrying the budget to come and present it and go and sit down”.
“But the budget presentation is a process. It follows government policy and economic policy and tax laws and all those things. All those laws and all those motions must be moved by a minister and that minister is the Minister of Finance.
“So, if Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is coming to present the budget, in what capacity is he presenting it under our standing orders and in what capacity is he going to move the motion for the tax laws and policies? So, the president must give him that mandate”, he argued.
He explained that it is just a letter and a statement that the President will issue to say that the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs is now the Acting Minister responsible for Finance and he should present the budget on his behalf until the substantive minister comes. Period”.
“What is the President afraid of, to give that power of attorney to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu? If you know he’s qualified, give him the mandate?” he wondered.
He warned: “If that doesn’t happen, I don’t think there will be sanity in Parliament to present it tomorrow”, stressing: “Parliament is not a lawless institution. We operate with laws and, therefore, the Speaker must be given that respect”.
“The President must be specific to let Parliament know who is responsible for finance at this material time. Parliament must be notified and that person is the one who must present the budget”.
Credit: Class FM