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15.02.2007 General News

House Debates State Of Nation Address

Dedate on the President's State of the Nation Address presented to Parliament on February 8, 2007 began yesterday with the Minority still absent from the House.

The Minority MPs began their boycott of sittings of the House on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 in solidarity with the jailed Member of Parliament for Keta, Mr Daniel Abodakpi.

The motion to thank the President for the address was moved by the People's National Convention (PNC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Zebilla, Mr John A. Ndebugre.

Moving the motion, Mr Ndebugre called on MPs to take particular note of the short, medium and long term interventions that the President outlined in his address to arrest the current energy crisis.

He stated that this would enable them to play their watchdog role in ensuring that public officers tasked with the implementation of these measures would carry out their duties with due diligence.

Mr Ndebugre also tasked the Ministry of Energy to publicise the country's total power needs alongside the amount of power that was being generated currently to enable the people to appreciate the gap between energy requirement and production.

“Such knowledge will go a long way to facilitate the economical use of electricity and the conservation of energy, which the President appealed the entire society to do.”

Mr Ndebugre also suggested the need for the country to take a serious look at the development of other sources of energy, including nuclear energy.

He noted that notwithstanding the devastating effects of the energy crisis on the society and industry, the President reported that Ghana was in the right direction of achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“Mr Speaker, to achieve these MDGs, a nation needs to maintain and sustain a health growth in its gross domestic product (GDP)” he said adding that Ghana had consistently since 2001 recorded an increasing GDP rate.

He, however, noted that to achieve an eight per cent growth rate, there was the need for faster implementation of the President's laid down plan for development in the agriculture, mining, health, finance, sports, trade and industry sectors.

Seconding the motion, a Minister of State and MP for Sunyani West, Mr Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, expressed worry about the increasing menace of Indian hemp consumption among the youth throughout the country.

He attributed the rise in acts of armed robbery to the consumption of Indian hemp and called on the police to step up their surveillance in order to find a lasting solution to the canker.

Mr Adjei-Darko was not happy about conflicts in all parts of the country due to chieftaincy disputes and commended the President for using the address to appeal to traditional rulers to ensure peace in their areas.

He said the people, particularly, those in the Brong Ahafo Region would be forever grateful to the President for his efforts towards the construction of the Bui Dam to solve the country's energy crisis and the provision of employment for the teeming youth.

Contributing to the motion, the MP for Bosomtwe, Mr Paul Osei-Mensah said President Kufuor hit the nail right on its head when he chastised people who always counted the cost of programmes and policies without appreciating the value of such initiatives.

He asked such people to be sincere enough to appreciate the tremendous achievements of the government within a relatively shorter period instead of criticising everything without offering any better alternative.

The Convention People's Party (CPP) MP for Evalue Gwira, Mr Kojo Armah said looking at the government's achievements, nobody should doubt the President's optimism that the country was rising again.

He traced Ghana's pre and post independence political history and said that “in spite of all challenges, we have been able to live together as one people with a common destiny”.

Mr Armah urged the government to develop its industrial potentials to ensure that basic needs such as tooth picks and toilet rolls were not imported.

The MP for OKai Koi South, Nana Akomea called for the inclusion of the rice and poultry industries in the President's Special Initiatives (PSI) because they constitute the huge of the local market.

The MP for Bosome-Freho, Nana Yaw Ofori-Kuragu called for a more vigorous rural electrification programme when the country's energy crisis was normalised to propel the establishments of cottage industries to boost rural economies.

Story by Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah