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2023 budget: Don’t hold govt hostage; support in passing it – Kennedy Agyapong tells NPP MPs

Member of Parliament for Assin Central Kennedy Agyapong has appealed to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmakers who have threatened to boycott the 2023 budget presentation if the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta is the one billed to present it, to support the government in approving the budget.

In a statement, he said the patriotic, urgent, compassionate and proper thing to do as lawmakers especially on the side of the government is first to help the government pass its budget and then later confront and address, the issue of who is fit or not fit to lead the Ministry of Finance.

His colleague lawmaker for Asanti-Akyem North Kwame Andy Appiah-Kubi earlier served notice that the aggrieved MPs won’t be in Parliament to support the budget if Mr Ofori-Atta is the one to present the document.

The MPs believe that a new face should replace the Finance Minister due to the current economic challenges.

He told journalists that “We’ve gone back to (our demand for the President to) sack him now and therefore should the budget be presented under the stamp of the Finance Minister, we’ll not participate because as far as we’re concerned we’re never going to do business with him.

“And if we’re not going to do business with him, he does not participate in any process from the Presidency to the House. We will not participate in deliberations too.”

But in a statement, Mr Agyapong said “In any case, we have all been elected as Members of Parliament to serve the best interests of the people of our individual and collective constituencies. Given the crippling economic crisis facing the people of Ghana and their businesses, it is the highest level of insensitivity towards the plight of our nation and her people for any elected representative or group of elected representatives to use their public offices to attempt to hold hostage efforts to address the economic problems facing all of us.

“Instead, the patriotic, urgent, compassionate and proper thing to do is first to help the government pass its budget and then later confront and address, if we must, the issue of who is fit or not fit to lead the Ministry of Finance.

“These are very challenging global times, with escalating energy and food prices pushing millions in Africa and elsewhere into extreme poverty and threatening the internal security of many nations, including ours. Ghanaians need, therefore, their elected representatives to show up for work and help them survive the worsening global economic turmoil. It is not the time to play political games or feed egos.”

Below is his full statement…

Statement by Kennedy Agyapong calling on all Majority Members of Parliament to Attend and Participate fully in the 2023 Budget Presentation, related discussions, debate and approval.

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, is expected to present to Parliament the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana on Thursday, November 24, 2022.

Mr Ofori-Atta will be presenting the budget to Parliament for and on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on the authority of Article 179(1) of Ghana’s Constitution of 1992, which commands the President to “cause to be prepared and laid before Parliament at least one month before the end of the financial year, estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the Government of Ghana for the following financial year.”

Over the last few days, however, I have become aware of a troubling public declaration of intention by some aggrieved New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament that they will neither attend Thursday’s sitting of Parliament nor have anything to do with subsequent Parliamentary discussions and debate on the 2023 Budget should Mr Ofori-Atta be the Minister presenting it to the House.

The said MPs have openly stated that they will only attend proceedings if Mr Ofori-Atta, who they – rightly or wrongly – blame for the country’s prevailing economic difficulties, is removed from office. I find the said public declarations not only unfortunate but regrettable.

I know fully well that calls for the sacking of Mr Ofori-Atta reached the President in September, and he has given assurances that he will revisit the matter after the Budget presentation and a successful end to Ghana’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The leadership of the Majority Group later issued a statement agreeing to the President’s request. Therefore, the insistence by some MPs that they will not attend Thursday’s proceedings means no more than an attempt to blackmail or unduly force the hands of the President and or undermine his authority and agenda for Ghanaians. That cannot be right. The President is our leader and deserves the full benefit of the doubt if any.

In any case, we have all been elected as Members of Parliament to serve the best interests of the people of our individual and collective constituencies. Given the crippling economic crisis facing the people of Ghana and their businesses, it is the highest level of insensitivity towards the plight of our nation and her people for any elected representative or group of elected representatives to use their public offices to attempt to hold hostage efforts to address the economic problems facing all of us.

Instead, the patriotic, urgent, compassionate and proper thing to do is first to help the government pass its budget and then later confront and address, if we must, the issue of who is fit or not fit to lead the Ministry of Finance.

These are very challenging global times, with escalating energy and food prices pushing millions in Africa and elsewhere into extreme poverty and threatening the internal security of many nations, including ours. Ghanaians need, therefore, their elected representatives to show up for work and help them survive the worsening global economic turmoil. It is not the time to play political games or feed egos.

I firmly believe that if there is ever any time that Ghanaians expect us to do our duty to Ghana unconditionally, it is now. We must not and cannot sacrifice that responsibility to our people on the side issue of who presents the 2023 Budget to Parliament.

Let us show leadership and demonstrate solidarity with the struggling masses of our people by turning out in our numbers to support the President’s proposed plan to put Ghana back on the path of economic recovery and triumph.

Every NPP MP has to preserve and ensure that the agenda of the Akufo-Addo government for Ghana succeeds, otherwise, the people of Ghana would have no reason to return the NPP to power in 2024.

By this statement, I am also calling on the good people of Ghana to keep the faith and trust that the NPP government has the right plan, strategy, and requisite expertise to steer our country out of the prevailing economic headwinds.

Kennedy Agyapong
MP for Assin Central
Accra, 24 November 2022

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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