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19.02.2009 Politics

Mills delivers maiden State-of-the-Nation address


President John Evans Atta Mills on Thursday delivered his maiden State-of-the-Nation address to Parliament, emphasizing teamwork and consensus building in the process of rebuilding the nation.

He told 228 Members Parliament, made up of four different parties and four independent members, that consensus building was very vital and time was very precious in the pursuit of true collaboration in the House.

"We must work together to fashion out the requisite legislation that will help this country face and overcome her many challenges in this time of domestic and global uncertainty," the President said.

President Mills reminded the Members of Parliament of the obligation of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to keep faith with the people at all times and never to forget the "men and women whose worries stretch from pay day to pay day."

The address touched on governance, challenging global economic environment, private sector development, agriculture, cocoa, housing and infrastructure, health, education, sports, energy, debt of the Tema Oil Refinery, power, information technology and foreign affairs.

The President stressed national unity and urged the House to serve as a model to Ghanaians who would see their teamwork as a prime example of peaceful and productive co-existence.

He asked: "Can we build a unified country where all citizens have the opportunity to give of their best to Mother Ghana while earning a good education and dignified standard of living?

"Can we all live under the Rule of Law, whereby we are all governed by the same set of laws and are equal before the Law?

"Can we all build a better and prosperous Ghana that works in the interest of all Ghanaians?"

President Mills urged the citizens to put the past behind, and team up to build a better Ghana underpinned by honesty and integrity.

He observed that the message of change promised by the NDC began with the realization that there was a new way to look at national problems and use political power as an instrument to shape the future of the nation.

"I am determined to restore a sense of community in this country; a community in which we all shall share in the responsibility of shouldering the common good.

"I want us to be kind and generous to each other. I believe it is possible to bring back smiles to the faces of all Ghanaians, that even if the economic prosperity is slow in coming, Ghanaians will say of this Government that we are truthful, honest and sincere.”

President Mills said the Government would hold itself and all other public office officials strictly accountable. "…That principle will not be negotiable.”

"I will be an example to the nation. I will be an example by being time-conscious. And because it is hypocritical to exhort people to sacrifice for the common god when we are not prepared to do the same, I will lead by example.”

President Mills paid tribute to his two predecessors, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, who sat at different places in the public gallery with their spouses, for their services to the nation and for moving democracy forward and further along the path to maturation.

The President acknowledged Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, for his selfless service.

He observed that this year was the first President's 100th birthday and announced that the Government intended to honour Dr Nkrumah's memory with a National holiday to be known as Founders' Day, adding that, Government would be sending legislation to that effect to the House.