Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin at the beginning of the debate on the 2021 message on the State of the Nation on Wednesday, cautioned members not to turn the House into a playground.
The debate followed the presentation of the State of the Nation Address by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, in which he briefed Ghanaians on the performance of the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the first term under his watch and made projections into the future.
However, there were incessant heckling from some colleague legislators as those who caught the Speaker’s eye made their submissions, compelling Speaker to caution that he would not tolerate any act to turn the House into playground.
The angry Speaker noted the noisy interruptions and heckling by some of the legislators during the President’s presentation of the SONA.
When they began to sing loudly at the beginning of the debate, Speaker Bagbin cautioned that the chamber was not a musical theater, and he would not allow the MPs to turn the chamber into a playground.
Speaker Bagbin said:” Honourable members, this is not a musical theater. What happened in parliament yesterday, I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t turn parliament into a playground, I am not going to tolerate that at all.”
Mr Eric Opoku, MP for Asunafo South, who was on his feet, continued with his submission after the Speaker’s caution, and said President Akufo-Addo’s address did not include how the Government had handled the economy.
Mr Opoku queried why Ghana’s national debt was rising, noting that “In December 2020, the debt of our nation has been ballooned to GHS286.9 billion, according to the Bank of Ghana, indicating that within the last four years, the NPP government has increased our total debt stock by a whopping GHS165 billion”.
According to the Asunafo South MP, “no government in the history of Ghana has ever borrowed this quantum of money within the space of four years”.
He noted that Ghana’s debt, as he said the Bank of Ghana puts it, constitutes 74.4 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Even if we are to add all the borrowings of all the governments we’ve had in this country, they never borrowed up to GHS165 billion. To whom much is given much is expected. The debt of our nation as the Bank of Ghana puts it constitutes 74.4 percent of our GDP. This is far above the IMF debt sustainability threshold of 70 percent,” he said.
The legislator wondered why the government had securitized a number of the country’s resources.
He suggested that the announcement by the President that three helicopters had been procured for the Ghana Police Service was false.
Mr Opoku also challenged the part of the presentation that the country was having food security if it imports tomatoes from other parts of the world, ending that the Government had brought hardship to the people.