The Minority in Parliament’s call for the withdrawal of the “illegal” 2018 budget has been described as “one of those jovial things people say in parliament”.
Deputy Finance Minister Kweku Kwarteng said he is surprised at the demand by the Minority spokesperson on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson
“Honestly, I don’t think he meant it”, he told Joy News Tuesday.
The Minority has maintained the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in July 2017 revised revenue targets without parliamentary approval and went ahead to include those estimates in the new budget statement.
Minority Spokesperson on Finance Ato Forson argued on the floor of the House Tuesday that the revisions are illegal and breaches the Public Financial Management Act.
Photo: Obuasi West MP Ato Forson
He threatened that the Minority could withdraw support for the approval of the budget.
But Deputy Finance Minister Kweku Kwarteng told Joseph Opoku Gakpo Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent that Ato Forson was not serious with the comment.
Even after the Joy News reporter pointed out that the former deputy Finance minister repeated the demand to the media, Kwaku Kwarteng who is also Obuasi West MP struggled to believe it.
“I still don’t think he meant it because it could not have been a serious point” he said.
The deputy Finance minister explained that government comes back to Parliament for approval only if it plans to exceed the expenditure ceilings it has set out in the earlier budget presentation.
In this case, the government through its Finance minister comes to present a supplementary budget to Parliament for approval, the Obuasi West MP explained.
Photo: Deputy Finance minister Kweku Kwarteng
Until the Minority can prove that the government exceeded its expenditure targets without seeking parliamentary approval, the demand by the Minority has no basis.
“I don’t even want to contest [their] point and give it credibility. I don’t even understand why they would want to make such a point in Parliament”, the baffled deputy minister said.
Joining in agreement, Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah said the Minority’s demand is “much ado about nothing”.