House approves State-Of-The-Nation Address

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah Majority Leader

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah Majority Leader

Parliament has adopted and approved the State-Of-The-Nation Address for the 2017 fiscal year presented to the House by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on February 8 this year.


It was preceded by a pulsating debate between Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Haruna Iddrisu, the Majority and Minority Leaders respectively.


Their one-hour (30 minutes each) long encounter brought down the curtain on the debate, started on Tuesday, February 13, which pitched members on both sides of the House against each other.


The delivery of the address was in fulfilment of Article 67 of the 1992 Republican Constitution which mandates the President to “at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament a message on the state of the nation.”


In his address, President Akufo-Addo, among other things, extolled the achievements of his government over the course of his stay in office and outlined plans and programmes for this year.


The debate, as expected, has seen legislators in the Majority caucus giving the President thumbs up and their opposite colleagues downplaying the achievements of the government.


Drawing the first blood in their contest yesterday, Mr. Iddrisu described the President’s address as one pregnant with promises and many “broken” promises made in 2017.


According to the Tamale South legislator, President Akufo-Addo’s campaign promise to disburse each constituency with One million dollars each, 51 district factories in line with his ‘One District, One Factor’ and a dam in each village of the three regions of the north were yet to materialise.


He said the economy was still suffocating under debt, statutory funds like GETFund, Health Fund, District Assemblies Common Fund, amongst others, were indebted contrary to the President’s claim that government was current on those obligations, restored teacher and training allowances unpaid with the unemployment rate increasing.


“The President paints the picture that the economy was in a mess (when he assumed office) as if the composure of the economy is good (today). It is not.”


He said, “The composure of the Ghanaian economy is not good, we are still at high risk of debt and its management.”


On energy, Mr. Iddrisu, a former Employment and Labour Relations Minister said the government was taking credit where it did not sow because the erstwhile NDC administration envisioned and worked out modalities to clear the debt in the sector which had led to the clearing of debts in that space resulting in stable power supply and called on the government to stop demonising the past regime as it bequeathed nothing good for the current regime.


Haruna Iddrisu lashed out at the President for doing little about the road network situation in the country, urged the government to restructure the road fund and asked the President to ensure that road contractors were paid so that work resumed on the roads that have stalled.


“There is hardship in the country. Living standard in the country is not the best. We should not pretend. There is lack of confidence in our demographics and economy” because the President in his address was still relying on figures from September 2017.


But in a rebuttal when he took the floor, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said his opposite colleague was being untruthful with management of the economy as the governing NPP always have an edge over the opposition anytime in power.


Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, MP, Suame said the poor economic management skills of the NDC was clear when the economy took a “nosedive” from more than 14 per cent growth in 2011 – driven by oil – to a little over 3 per cent in 2016 when the John Mahama-led administration left office.


According to the Majority Leader, never in the history of Ghana had an economy grew by not than 100 per cent within a year until in 2017 when the Akufo-Addo led administration took the figure from the 2016 figure of 3.6 to 7.9 representing 115 per cent.


He said the prowess of the current economic management team is underscored by the reduction in the budget deficit from 9 to 5 per per cent whiles at the same time, embarking on massive social intervention like increasing the capitation grant from GH¢4.50 to GH¢9.00 in a year – a thing the outgone NDC government could only do in 2 years by only 50 per cent and the free SHS policy.


On Agriculture, the Majority Leader said, has been revived as the Planting for Food and Jobs programme has led to massive reduction in the price of food, whiles hoping that the creation of the Office of Special Prosecutor would help deal with corruption ruthlessly to save money for the needed development of the country.



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