President John Evans Atta Mills must not go to Parliament today to present a litany of wishes that have been put together by the various ministries,
departments and agencies.
He must send a strong policy direction signal intended to accelerate national development, cohesion and respect for the fundamental human rights of all Ghanaians.
The 2008 Presidential Candidate for the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, who was addressing the press, the fourth in the series of “Agenda for Change” in Accra, mentioned the Directive Principle of State Policy, Article 34 (2) and Article 36 (5) as the guidelines for the presentation of the State of the Nation Address.
Article (2) of the constitution says that, “The President shall report to Parliament at least once a year all the steps taken to ensure the realisation of the policy objectives contained in this chapter; and in particular, the realization of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good health care and the right to education”.
Article 36 (5) also directs that “For the purposes of the foregoing clauses of this article, within two years after assuming office, the President shall present to Parliament a co-ordinated programme of economic and social development policies, including agricultural and industrial programmes at all levels and in all the regions of Ghana”.
Dr Nduom, who said he had presented a copy of his statement to the President, called for a new way of doing things, especially attitudinal change, hard work and a consensus on a national development agenda based on the foundation of the Directive Principle of State Policy and how to become a middle-income country.
He said to move from a growth rate of five per cent to seven per cent, the country must depart from the ‘hoe-and-cutlass agriculture’, an import-and-sell mentality or being a raw material exporter.
He also suggested to President Mills to direct the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance to make available a minimum of GHÃ‚Â¢250 million as loans to micro-small-medium scale enterprises through rural banks and savings and loans companies in the form of stimulus package.
Dr Nduom noted that since the inception of the global financial crisis, even the rich nations had found it necessary to protect their private companies by injecting resources into them.
“As we come close to the production of crude oil and gas from the Jubilee Field, President Mills must tell us on Thursday what his timetable for determining through legislation, what we should expect with regard to petrochemicals industry, local content, benefit to the local communities in the production areas,” he added.
He also called on the President to create a Ministry of Public Service to manage the reform agenda in the public service and continuously seek improvement in the performance of the service.
On transportation, Dr Nduom said Ghanaians needed same-quality high way from the north to south, east to west to spread development and investment in the next five years as well as a modern light rail and cross country railroads to improve reliability and safety in the transportation of goods and people throughout the country.