Parliament Commence Debate On State Of The Nation Address

Parliament on Tuesday commenced debates on the state of the nation’s address with the majority side defending the policies of government and the minority side criticizing issues raised by President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday February 25, 2014. The address centered on the need for change, a necessary ingredient needed to propel the country forward as a nation. The address also touched on the four basic pillars around which President Mahama’s approach to governance and socio-economic transformation would revolve, which include; putting people first, building a strong and resilient economy, expanding infrastructure for growth and maintaining transparent and accountable governance. Mr Haruna Iddrissu, Member for Tamale Central, who moved the motion to kick start the debate, re-emphasized the need for all Ghanaians to rise to the challenge of the structural change and to bear with the government because after swallowing the bitter pill, the benefits would be enjoyed by all Ghanaians. He said lots of development had been carried out in the health sector, adding that, the government of the National Democratic Congress would have its name written in gold if the country was to count the level of infrastructural development in the various hospitals in the country, including Tamale in the Northern Region, Wa, in the Upper West Region and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in the Ashanti Region among others. He said the four pillars of President Mahama were laying the foundation for the economy to take off and urged that Ghanaians should move away from the present import dependent to export driven economy. Mr Iddrissu specifically mentioned that in 2013 rice imports amounted to $374million, $359million in 2012, $384 in 2011, 202 in 2010, noting that rice cultivation needed to be encouraged in the country as was done in the era of General I.K Acheampong in the 1970s. He also touched on the need to develop the poultry industry. Touching on free senior high education, Mr Iddrissu said President Mahama was discharging his constitutional obligation to ensure that Ghanaians had free secondary education. Mr Joe Gidisu, Member for Central Tongu, said the road sector was the pivot for economic development in the country, adding that, funding for development of the country’s major roads came from the competitive resources of the national purse. He said government was being paid to construct new roads as well as the maintenance of the old ones. Mr Akandoh Kwabena Minta, member for Juaboso, appealed to Ghanaians to heed to the President’s call to patronize made in Ghana goods. Mr Dery Kaale Ewola, member for Lambussie Karni said the President had strategized policies that would propel the economy and urged Ghanaians to bear with President Mahama to fix the economy. Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, member for Sunyani West, sharing his review of President Mahama’s address, revealed that there was no mention of Savanna Accelerated Development Authority anywhere but according to the government SADA was the blue print to breach the developmental gap between the north and the south. Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, member for Kwadaso, said government policy on agriculture had failed because of the high importation of food, adding that the projected growth in agriculture cannot be achieved and urged government o increase producer price of cocoa by 50 per cent. Ms Ursula Owusu, member for Ablekuma West, said President Mahama in his address noted that corruption was pervasive and institutionalized to mean that nothing could be done about it, making reference to Africa Watch Magazine which had described Ghana on its front page heading “Republic of Corruption” but Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak- Muntaka, member for Asawase, on a point of order told the House that the President meant that as a people “we should clean our society of corruption.”