SoN Address: What People Expect To Hear From Prez Mahama

In accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, the President of the Republic of Ghana is required to address Parliament and the nation to report on the condition of the republic and to outline his agenda.

President Mr John Dramani Mahama is, therefore, charged by this article to deliver a message on the state of the nation today after he was initially scheduled to do so on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

There was, however, no tangible reason given for the postponement but the Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is reported to have said that this was the first time the address had been postponed “so some details ought to have been made known for it to be postponed”.

State of the Nation Address 2013

Last year, the Majority in Parliament enjoyed the monotony of the delivery of the address as it was not characterised by the partisan banter usually exhibited by the Minority in the house.

This was because the Minority, mostly made up of the members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), was contesting the results of the 2012 presidential election in court and hence claimed that its participation in the address would mean that they had endorsed the election results which pronounced Mr Mahama as President of the republic.

They, however, sat in the address but refused to join the debate. The Majority, therefore, had the pleasure of endorsing the policies and the statements that the President made during the address.

Labelled as “Opportunities for All,” the President during his address in 2013 said, “ In my first term as President, I will focus on delivering on the following, which constitute the vital pillars underpinning our national development programme.”

“Putting the people first; a strong and resilient economy; expanding infrastructure, and transparent and accountable governance.”

Bajin D. Pobia, Journalist

For me, I expect him to tell Ghanaians the true state of the economy; nothing more than the truth so that everybody will be well informed. Because I learnt International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank experts are in Ghana to advise the government on the economy. So the President should be bold enough to tell Ghanaians the true state so that we can adjust ourselves to the challenges ahead.

Eli Dokosi, Marketing Officer

I expect the President to extensively tackle the issues of agricultural and the policies he has put in place to ensure that his decisions impact positively on the nation. He should also touch on measures he has put in place to ensure food sustainability.

I expect him to also address security concerns of the people and give us an overview of the situation at the borders, since the boarders are very porous and as such anyone can cross them without hindrance.

I also want to hear him tackle the foreign policy of the country such as where Ghana stands in the comity of nations. We do know that during the era of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana played a pivotal role in the African cause when it came to Pan Africanism, nationalism, economic sustainability and industrialisation among others but for some time now, we do not know where we stand and where our policy preference lies.

So he should take the opportunity to let us know the situation on the ground.

Mrs Safiatu Sumani Amankwa, businesswoman

Currently, there have been concerns about the state of the economy and I expect that if he has a vision, he should share the vision with us and give us a redirection because the direction in which we are going is not so good.

Also on the economic aspect of governance, I expect him to spread it and allow people who are not necessarily members of the party to share their ideas on how to revamp the economy.

I remember during the time of President Kufuor, there was the National Economic Dialogue that brought together all the think tanks across the country to look at the economy and advise on some prescriptions. I expect him to look into that as well.

Edem Srem, Anti-GMO Activist

I expect to hear something on Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) because I think it is appropriate we know exactly where the country stands on the issue and whether we are accepting them or not.

We need to know what is going to happen to our food sector in the next five to 10 years because it is our right to know as citizens of the country.

If we are going for the GMOs, then what structures have been put in place to let people identify GMO foods from organic foods on the market in order for them to make a choice on what they eat.

Joshua Quaye, Teacher

My expectations are that he’s going to announce measures to curb the depreciation of the cedi especially in the area of fiscal policy.

I also expect him to address the perennial water problems we face and measures to reduce the soaring graduate unemployment in the country.

Emmanuel Bart Plange, Physiotherapist

I expect him to give the true state of the Ghanaian economy and address the depreciation of the cedi against other major currencies.

I also want to hear him talk about the measures being put in place to encourage private businesses to grow and create more jobs.