8th Parliament Of The 4th Republic: Violence Starts, Violence Ends The First Year

The 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic was on Thursday, January 7, 2021, inaugurated and the 275 members of Parliament-elect were sworn into office as per Article 100(1) of the 1992 Constitution.

This was after the 7th Parliament of the Fourth Republic was dissolved at midnight, in accordance with Article 113(1) of the 1992 Constitution.

Ahead of the dissolution of the 7th parliament, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was seen taking the names of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs, who initially occupied that side, off the desks.

The NDC MPs refused to move, the NPP had to take their seats on the minority side.

Both parties have 137 seats each in Parliament, with an Independent Candidate who has chosen to sit on the side of the NPP.

Members of the NDC and NPP clashed in parliament prompting a military intervention.

The MPs were voting to choose the next parliament speaker but chaos erupted after a lawmaker from the ruling party tried to seize the ballot box.

The ensuing clash lasted several hours until the army moved in, with national television broadcasting the drama live.

The voting process was characterised by chaos and the snatching of ballot boxes and papers by the MP for Tema West, Carlos Ahenkorah, and was chased by the MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak.

After calm was restored, veteran politician, Alban Bagbin was elected as the Speaker of Parliament the 4th Republic after beating Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye.

Over the past week, Parliament has been saddled with work associated with the 2022 budget statement and economic policy.

The government as part of its 2022 budget economic policies intends to impose a 1.75% levy on all electronic transactions.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta presenting the 2022 budget statement in November announced the new levy to be charged by the government in 2022 on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector.

He stated that the levy would be a 1.75% charge on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments, and inward remittances to be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.

The Minister said it is becoming clear there exists an enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken, in what he termed, the informal economy.

According to him, a portion of the proceeds from the E-Levy will be used to support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, digital and road infrastructure among others.

As part of the policy implementation plan, the government allotted GH¢241,933,000 to be spent on services.

The proposed E- levy if approved by Parliament will come into effect on February 1, 2022.

The tax has since been met with mixed reactions, with Ghanaians kicking against it and stressing that it will only place an extra burden on their finances.

The minority in parliament has also announced that it will not support approval for the proposal.

The House, after it resumed sitting to consider the approval or otherwise of the E-levy bill on Monday, December 20, 2021, could not make a decision as a result of commotion that characterized voting on the floor of the House following disagreements and proceedings were adjourned.

The commotion started when the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, who was then presiding over proceedings of the House in the absence of the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, attempted to also cast his ballot for passage of the Bill under a Certificate of Urgency.

The decision of the First Deputy Speaker to take leave of the Speaker’s chair for the Second Deputy Speaker to take charge to enable him to participate in voting turned chaotic when the NDC MPs attempted to prevent him from vacating his chair to participate in the headcount voting process.

This resulted in a clash between the NPP and NDC sides in Parliament with some MPs throwing their fists while others fell to the ground for proceeding to be adjourned due to the misconduct.

The 25-Member Finance Committee of Parliament had earlier approved the controversial E-levy bill for consideration by the House which was done despite the resistance of the Minority NDC members because the Chairman of the Committee voted in favour to break the tie.

On Tuesday, December 21, 2021, the House went on recess without approving the E-levy after fighting.

The MPs will return on January 18, 2022.

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