Parliament today began a debate on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered to the House on Thursday February 20, 2020 in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House.
The Minister for Information and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ofoase-Ayirebi, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah moved the motion to thank the President for the message and enable the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to begin the debate on the Address.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee and MP for New Juaben South Hon. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, seconded the motion as MPs from the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) side, who had earlier boycotted the SONA delivery, declined to partake in the debate.
The Minister for Information said the Minority’s decision to walkout in Parliament during His Excellency the President’s presentation was disrespectful, uncalled for and should not be repeated.
He trumpeted the economic achievements of the economy since the NPP administration took over the helm of affairs in 2017 from what, he described as, the ugly and faltering economy inherited from the NDC administration.
Hon. Oppong Nkrumah stressed that the government had chalked successes in the areas of peace and security, education, railways development, governance and in macro-economic activities and the flagship One District One Factory (1D1F) programme.
He asserted that even though the NPP inherited a collapsing financial sector that had led to failing banks and considerable agony to many people, the government was taking steps to raise over GH¢13 billion to pay the more than 4.6 million affected customers of the banks.
The Minister emphasized that all the micro-economic indicators were pointing to the right direction and said even the depreciation of the cedi was a temporary development which has been reversed.
Hon. Mark Assibey-Yeboah in his contribution reiterated that every single macroeconomic indicator has improved since January 2017 and as result of the now buoyant economy, the Bank of Ghana was working hard to clear all the mess in the country’s financial sector to ensure a sound banking system for the country.
The Finance Committee Chairman posited that all the macro-economic indicators have improved significantly, which shows a positive outlook for the country culminating in Ghana exiting the IMF programme by the end of 2018.
He emphasized that the NPP is delivering on its manifesto promise to provide a competent administration for the people and argued that the government is determined not to go back to the programmes that will not benefit the country in long run.
Hon. Alexander Afenyo-Markin MP for Effutu in his contribution succeeded in bringing the Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak to his feet by persistently provoking and drawing the boycotting NDC MPs into the debate in utter disregard of the Standing Orders of the House and had to be cautioned severally by the Rt. Hon. Speaker Michael Aaron Oquaye.
He condemned the decision by the NDC to boycott the constitutionally-mandated State of the Nation Address delivered by the first gentleman of the land, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and described the act as ill-conceived, disgraceful and reprehensible
Hon. Alexander Afenyo-Markin said the boycott action was irresponsible and unfortunate and noted that as leaders they must be very careful about the things that they do which have the potential to undermine the pillars of Ghana’s democracy.
He cautioned it was time Ghanaians of all political spheres elevate some ceremonies of state above partisan politics and that the State of the Nation Address must be one of such constitutionally-mandated ceremonies.
The vocal Effutu lawmaker totally condemned the NDC MPs’ act and urged all right-thinking Ghanaians to hold in high esteem efforts aimed at protecting the country’s fledgling democracy.