The Majority and Minority caucuses of Parliament, in a characteristic manner, are divided over the truth or otherwise of the State of The Nation Address (SONA) delivered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Accra on Thursday.
Whiles the Majority said the SONA was an indication of a recovering economy, their colleagues in the Minority labelled the address as a “promise galore.”
President Akufo-Addo, in line with Article 67 of the Constitution spent close to two hours on his feet on the floor of Parliament to brief the citizenry, through their representatives, on the state of the nation.
“The President shall, 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” the article reads.
Touching on areas including th economy, education, agriculture, health, security, transport, infrastructure, sanitation among others, President Akufo-Addo said his policies were turning around the weak economy he inherited on January 7, 2017.
For example, he said his policies have culminated in the reduction of the budget deficit from more than nine per cent in 2016 to five per cent in 2017, inflation on a downward trend, interest rates dropping, stable power among other indicators.
According to President Akufo-Addo, jobs are being created, scrapped teacher and nursing allowances have been restored and paid with pro poor policies like the implementation of the free Senior High School policy improving the economic fortunes of the many citizens who benefit.
But the Minority disagrees and described the address as a “rehash” of what was said in 2017 and does not reflect the true state of the country.
Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi told the Ghanaian Times that the President’s claims do reflect in the lives of the people.
“As a citizen of Ghana, if the economy is growing you will know because it will reflect in your pocket. It is not the President who should be telling us that his policies are yielding results. Things are tough and people are complaining” he noted.
He dismissed the argument that the current government inherited a distressed economy and asked that a direct comparison was done at every level regarding when the NDC was in power in 2016 and what pertaining today.
Bolgatanga Central MP, Isaac Adongo, on his part said the President was being deceptive on the debt to GDP ratio by relying on September 2017 figures.
Mr. Adongo said the President cannot take credit for the growth in the economy because non of his flagship programmes including the One District, One Factory (1D1F), one village, one dam was yet to take off.
However, Ayawas West Wuogon MP, Emmanuel Agyarko, said the Minority was being disingenuous saying that the President’s address is an indication that “there is work in progress.”
He said it was only proper for the President to appraise the Ghanaian on what he has done over the last 12 months when he came to deliver his first SONA.
Asked why the President was unable to report on the 51 industries he promised under the One District, One Factory in 2017, Mr. Agyarko said ” these things take time but we shall surely deliver.”
Assin North MP, Rev. Michael Ntim Fordjour said the address shows that Ghana was “working again.”
Touching on security, he said crime rate was on the decline and that the farce about insecurity could not be true adding that the government will retool the police and other security agencies to meet current security trends.