February 28, 2013

Debate on the President’s State of the Nation’s address continued to be a bone of contention between the Majority and Minority in Parliament.

Whilst the Majority side described the address as a true reflection of what is happening in the economy, the Minority disagreed saying it did not meet the targets of the manifesto of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Mr George Yaw Boakye, New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Asunafo South, said the mere provision of school text books, free uniforms, and removal of schools under trees were nothing for the government to be proud of adding that there should have been programmes and projects assigned as social interventions.

President Evans Atta Mills presented the nation’s address on February 16, on the theme: “Still Building a Better Ghana.”

A motion to thank President Mills for the message was moved by Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, Member for Asawase on February 21, and seconded by Prof George Yaw Gyan-Baffour, Member for Wenchi.

Mr. Boakye noted that the standard of education at the basic level was falling especially at the public schools, saying the cost of education these days was very expensive whilst newly trained teachers had not been paid for the past one year, with no motivation for teachers especially teachers in rural areas.

He expressed concern about the state of the nations’ polytechnics, saying the manifesto of the NDC pledged to pay special attention to polytechnic education.

Mrs Beatrice Bernice Boateng, NPP Member for New Juaben South said the state of the nation was appalling as parents, teachers and many others were not happy and everything was in disarray.

She noted that the migration onto the Single Spine Salary Structure had left many teachers confused about the real state of their income whilst the school assessment system was not working any more leading to poor academic standards.

She said President Mills needed to have covered in his address every achievement his Administration had chalked out from the start of the 2009 to date but it was only 2011 and what the government had planned to achieve in the future.

Mr. Yaw Owusu Boateng, NPP Akim Oda, said there was inconsistency in the address with regards to the removal of schools under trees, saying the budget quoted a figure different from what President Mills stated in his 2012 address.

He noted that it was not true that all school children were given free uniforms citing his constituency as an example.

Ms Catherine Afeku, NPP Member for Evalue Gwira, said the Government promised in vain to bring to justice those who assassinated Yana Yakubu Andani II, the Overlord of Dagbon.

She mentioned the one time insurance premium which was not mentioned in the address and questioned the fate the of Ghanaians resident abroad in the biometric registration exercise.

Ms Afeku also complained about the unemployment for the numerous graduates.

Mr. Emmanuel Armah Buah, NDC Member for Ellembele, said the country recorded enviable progress in the health and agricultural sectors.

Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua, Member for Biakoye said transnational crime has been under control as new digital equipment are being installed at the borders to boost surveillance.

He said works on “Job 600”, the office complex at the State House, which had been earmarked as offices for MPs, is progressing whilst the construction of MPs offices in the constituencies are progress.

Mr John Gyetuah, NDC member for Amenfi West, said Article 35 of the 1992 Constitution stated that “government shall continue the programmes and projects commenced by previous governments” and that was what President Mills was doing.

Apart from the debate some papers were presented on the floor of the House namely; the Annual Report and Audited Accounts of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission for 2009, Ministry of Health’s Audit Report Implementation Committee, State of the Auditor-General’s Report for 2007, 2008 and 2009.