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03.02.2005 General News

MPs react to President's address

By GNA

Accra Feb 03, GNA - Members of Parliament (MPs) expressed diverse opinions on President John Agyekum Kufuor's State of the Nation Address delivered to Parliament on Thursday with the Minority condemning and the Majority describing it as "message of hope"".

Mr Moses Asaga, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Nabdam, said the Address clearly "indicates the harsher times ahead for the Majority of Ghanaians with the intended deregulation of petroleum products soon.

"All it means is that the private sector or multinationals will take over the buying and selling of petroleum products and determine prices at the expense of the poor, especially those living in the rural areas, who depend on kerosene for energy.

"I think the Government has a role to play in this sector. In fact it is their social responsibility to subsidise or make it affordable, rather than running away from the problem."

On the National Health Insurance Scheme, (NHIS) Mr Asaga questioned why pilot projects of the scheme were not done in hospitals such as Korle-Bu Teachng Hospital or the 37 Military Hospital but rather in the districts.

"It is because there are still problems which need to be solved before its implementation, that was why we (NDC) called for a further debate on it."

Mr Asaga said the 5.8 percent growth President Kufuor mentioned, "is a cooked figure and unachievable under the prevailing global economic situation, where most economies did not grow much including even the US which led to a weakened dollar.

"Foreign direct investments was low, coupled with high unemployment so the figure should have been around five to 5.2 per cent".

Mr Edward Salia, NDC Jirapa, said there was nothing new in what President Kufuor said and that he was only hoping on goodwill and proper management to change things for the better.

"His vision for zero tolerance on corruption has failed, the promise of rehabilitating and upgrading one secondary school in every district is yet to be seen," he said.

On the President's Special Initiatives (PSI), Mr Salia said it was unfortunate that everything had now become PSI, including sugar, cotton and maize," adding that the "cotton industry has collapsed under this Government since a company took over its operations".

Mr E.T. Mensah, NDC, Ningo-Prampram, was of the view that almost all the projects mentioned by President Kufuor were initiated or started by the NDC and that they (NDC) should be credited with them.

"Most of the current road projects the Address touched on and even the NHIS was initiated by us (NDC)," he said.

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