The Parliament on Friday concluded the debate on the Motion to thank President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered to the House on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the Second Deputy Speaker, presiding, said the Speaker would on behalf of the House formally write a letter of gratitude to the President for the SONA.
This year’s debate, which started on Thursday, March 9, 2023, was moved by Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, which was seconded by Mr Isaac Adongo, the Deputy Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament and National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Bolgatanga East.
The debate, which lasted for six days, was unique from previous years, in that debaters were allowed to speak freely without interjections.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business and NPP MP for Suame, in his concluding remarks, thanked the President for giving the House the true State of the Nation.
He said Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, which compels the President to deliver the Message on the State of the Nation, did not relate to the content of the Message.
He said, however, the state of the country was the situation or set of circumstances that pertained in the country now and that the President’s message was an account of the pertaining condition of the country.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu assured Ghanaians that despite the current economic challenges facing the country, there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“One must own up to the fact that there is some darkness now but there is light at the end of the tunnel if we hold together and not become unnecessarily partisan. The people of Ghana are watching,” he said.
Touching on the achievements of the current Government, the Majority Leader said the rate of economic growth had more than doubled from the average 2.8 per cent growth that President John Dramani Mahama bequeathed to his successor administration.
He noted that despite the COVID-19 and Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the country remained self-sufficient in the staples of cassava and plantain.
“We no longer import them from Cote d’lvoire. We have not imported maize for human consumption over the past three years. Rather, neighbouring countries have been buying these, especially maize, yam, and rice from Ghana,” he said.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Government cleaned up the banking sector and saved depositors from the mismanagement of some deposit-taking houses, which really should not have been given licences to operate as banks.
Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader and NDC MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, in his remarks, noted that livelihood of Ghanaians had deteriorated significantly and that reflected the true state of the country.
“Mr Speaker, Ghanaians have become extremely impoverished, livelihoods have deteriorated significantly, and the president has made the ordinary Ghanaian poorer and poorer, that is the true state of the country,” he said.
He said the truth was that transport fares are the highest so far and again, food and energy prices had risen astronomically.
With regard to electricity tariffs, Dr Forson said: “The truth is that from last quarter September 2022, to date, they have increased electricity prices by 59 per cent yet this has been kept outside parliament as if nothing has happened.”