“…that it is to report on how our nation is faring after this year of change, and to share the prospects we can look forward to in the year ahead.”
Mr Speaker, the Constitution mandates the President to tell us the steps he is to take to make sure that we realise the objectives enshrined in Constitution.
Mr Speaker, last year, the President read a 16-page State of the Nation
Address. This year, he has increased it to 21 pages. In his 16-page Address last year, the President outlined a litany of promises that he claimed he was going to do, and steps that he would take to fulfil them.
Mr Speaker, permit me to read out just three of them because of time. The seventh one says: “establishment of a multi- purpose industrial park in each of the ten regions.” The eighth one also states: “implementation of comprehensive programme for SME development targeting, primarily, regional and continental markets” and the last one, which is the thirteenth point, also says: “establishment of permanent consultative forum for public-private sector dialogue”.
Mr Speaker, the President catalogued 13 items in his 2017 State of the Nation Address, and I thought that this year, I would have seen a catalogue of items that have been fulfilled out of these, so that I can know the key performance indicators that we can use to judge the President.
Mr Speaker, therefore, this time around, if the President came again with another litany of promises, it shows clearly that he had come in fulfilment, only of his constitutional mandate, but had not told this House and the good people of Ghana, the steps that he was taking to fulfil those requirements.
Mr Speaker, the President has acknowledged the fact that Ghana's multi- purpose democracy has reached 25 years of silver jubilee, and we all applauded. My expectation was that the President would have informed this country that indeed, his predecessors had started with what we call the Constitutional Review Programme.
Mr Speaker, taxpayers' moneys have been spent on the Constitutional Review Programme, and so I was expecting His
Excellency to come out to tell us that indeed, with the Constitutional Review Programme, this and that were some of the steps he was taking, either to throw away the White Paper, or to accept some of the recommendations from the Constitutional Review Programme.
We are in 25 years -- silver jubilee -- of this democracy, and nothing has been said by His Excellency the President on the Constitutional Review Programme.
Mr Speaker, indeed, the President has apologised for a Bill that he has promised to bring to this House.
Mr Speaker, if we would want to fight corruption, then one of the things that I was expecting His Excellency to bring to this House was the Right to Information Bill. Last year, we were all told that the Right to Information Bill would be presented to this House.
If really we would want to fight corruption, then we would indeed need the Special Prosecutor, but we would also need information from the Ministries, Departments and from all Agencies. But where is the Right to Information Act, and where is the Bill that we all worked on in the Sixth Parliament, to the extent that we had gotten to the Consideration Stage? This Bill did not find space in the President's State of the Nation Address.
Mr Speaker, indeed, are we really ready to fight corruption? Is it only about the Special Prosecutor? Or would we need information from other Ministries, Departments and Agencies that we can fight corruption with? This was also lacking in the President's State of the Nation Address.
Mr Speaker, when it comes to infrastructure, I am so passionate about development. But I have not seen anything about infrastructure in this State of the Nation Address. Why? My expectations have been dashed because the President only mentioned a few things.
Mr Speaker, one of the key sectors in this country has to do with sanitation, and last month, January, no less a person than the Ambassador to Austria, H.E Andrew Banks, tweeted on his account about the sanitation in Ghana, and in it he said, “the scene this morning near our High Commission encouraged the local authority to step up its effort to meet the President at the Flag Staff House Ghana, promise to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by 2020.” This is from no less a person than the Ambassador to Austria.
Mr Speaker, we should go to our cities, and Accra that we all tout to be the cleanest city. Today, after one whole year in government, Accra is dirtier as per the assertion by a whole Ambassador. Are we going forward or coming backwards? That has to do with only one part of our infrastructure.
Mr Speaker, the President also came to this House, and I would want to use this opportunity to correct Mr President on the Ewe that he spoke. As an Ewe, we do not say, “Nuveve du veve me wo da ne”, to which he wanted to say, “Nuveve, veveze me wodane le” — [Hear! Hear!] — This is the meaning of the fact that, if one wants to cook an important meal, one puts it in an important pot. [Interruption.] Yes he gave the translation but he should have asked me to do it for him.
Mr Speaker, the President spoke about one of the major roads — a thousand kilometre road that spans from the southern sector to the northern sector,