The Majority and Minority caucuses of Parliament have expressed mixed reactions to the message on the state of the nation delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The President, in line with Article 67 of the 1992 Republican Constitution, presented the message on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday accounting to the Ghanaian citizenry concerning health, education, the economy, governance and infrastructure, amongst other areas.
To President Akufo-Addo, the indices his government had recorded were better than he met them in 2017, when he first took the leadership mantle.
According to President Akufo-Addo, his government has fulfilled “most” of its campaign promises and that his new mandate would be to consolidate those gains.
In the view of the National Democratic Congress, the formed Minority, however, the one-and-a-half hour delivery of the President was a rehash of his 2016 and 2020 electioneering promises, which they claim have not seen the light of day.
The Majority group, constituted by the New Patriotic Party and an independent candidate, on the other hand, said the president was spot on, candid and demonstrated that the country was in a healthy state.
“It was disappointing not hearing from the President on the state of our national debt. I hear it has ballooned to GH¢297 billion, representing 78 per cent of gross domestic product. That has implications for our fiscal deficit and it means that he will not have money to consummate many of the projects he has announced.
“It is also disappointing that the President didn’t come clear on the LGBTQI matter. We want to know where he stands,” Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said.
Having been reminded that the President had earlier commented on the matter of LGBTQI, Mr Iddrisu said, “He could not have made it at a better forum than Parliament, where the people’s representatives are and where laws are made.
“We need to protect our culture, our values as a people which abhors that practice.”
The Tamale South MP said the President’s indication to reintroduce the botched Agyapa Minerals Royalty deal only made him unrepentant after the deal was roundly rejected by civil society.
“Agyapa is a no no for us. What is the emergency? What do they need US$500 million or US$1 billion for? To securitise our mineral resources for the next 25 years or even in perpetuity?
“Agyapa is unacceptable for us today, it is unacceptable for us tomorrow. We are disappointed,” he told the media.
But Chief Whip for the Majority Group and MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh Dompreh, said the President couldn’t have given a better account on the state of the country.
In his view, the statement was a true reflection of the economy, indicating that there was life in the health of the economy.
Ghanaians, he said, were a testimony to the good works of the government and that the president hit the nail right on the head.
“The presentation was solid. The President was honest and transparent. I wish we proceeded with the debate after the presentation.
“The speech was rich and you could see the confidence with which the President spoke,” he said.
The debate on the message is expected to commence today and end tomorrow.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI