The Minority in Parliament say they are disappointed that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo failed to tell Ghanaians the true state of the economy.
They said the President was silent on the current debt plaguing the country, as well as the true number of Ghanaians who had been made jobless as a result of the impact of COVID-19 and the banking sector clean-up.
“My first major disappointment is the President’s silence on our national debt. We have a national debt of about GH¢287 billion, meaning about 78 per cent of gross domestic debt (GDP), which is worrying,” the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated.
Tell us true debt
Speaking to the press in reaction to the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, the Minority Leader said when the President delivered his 2017 SONA, he was quick to tell the nation how much debt he inherited.
“So today too, President Akufo-Addo must be quick to tell us how much he has inherited from his previous administration in terms of our national debt,” he stated.
Mr Iddrisu, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South, said Ghanaians needed to know the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to unemployment in the country.
On the contrary, he added, the President only gave an indication of people whose wages had been reduced, instead of the number who had been made jobless.
“We need to know how many people are sitting at home because of COVID-19, how many are home because of the banking sector clean up,” the Minority Leader said.
The Tamale South Member of Parliament stated that the President was also silent on the number of people who were killed through military excesses during the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ablekuma in the Greater Accra Region, Techiman in the Bono East Region and Savelugu in the Northern Region.
He said as the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghanaians expected President Akufo-Addo to have instigated some investigations into those matters, while the families were compensated, with those responsible for the excesses punished.
“That is how you can keep the peace and security of the country; you just do not come and say we have peace and security. There must be a basis, and justice is one basis for stability, peace and security,” he said.
Campaign promises questionable
Questioning the President’s assertion that the government had fulfilled a number of its campaign promises, the Minority Leader pointed out what he said were inconsistencies in some of the claims by the President and the Minister of Trade and Industry in relation to the government’s flagship programme, the One-district, One-factory (1D1F).
Mr Iddrisu said while the President claimed that 232 1D1F projects were at various stages of implementation, Mr Alan Kyerematen had told the Appointments Committee that 259 of such projects were at various stages of completion.
“Who should we believe, as 76 were already existing factories which are not new? So who is deceiving who?” he asked.
He also accused the government of hiding information about the implementation of the $1 million, one constituency programme.
We’re still against Agyapa
Reiterating the Minority’s stance against the Minerals and Income Investment Fund Royalty (Agyapa), Mr Iddrisu questioned the urgency with which the President still wanted to push the Agyapa Royalty back to Parliament for approval.
“What do they need $500 million urgently for, and what is the justification that you have to securitise our mineral royalty for 25 years and create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which is suspicious and which gives us room to be worried about corruption if we are to believe the Special Prosecutor appointed by them?
Bring Domelevo back
Touching on the forced compulsory retirement of the immediate past Auditor-General, he said the move by the President was an indication of “somebody who does not seem to fight corruption”.
He said the President’s forcing of Mr Daniel Domelevo to “retire” set a bad precedent for all constitutional bodies.
Message gives hope
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Assin South, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, however, said he was happy that the President had given a true reflection of the state of affairs in the all sectors of the economy.
He said with the advent of the Ghana Card and digitisation, Ghanaians were already reaping the benefits by enjoying services provided via integrated systems.
“The message has given a lot of hope. Although Ghana was down due to COVID-19, as the Black Star of Africa, we have risen to the occasion and we are fast recovering in all spheres of our economy,” Rev. Fordjour said.
The NPP MP for Ejisu, Mr John Kumah, was of the view that the President had told Ghanaians exactly everything that was right with the nation and the challenges.
“He has told us how his government has managed to address problems with galamsey, COVID-19 and the reopening of schools,” he said.