The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) on Wednesday expressed shock and disappointment at the content of the President’s State of the Nation address which was presented to Parliament on February 25, 2014.
Nana Kofi Owusu, Director of Operations of the Progressive People’s Party, who read a statement on behalf of the Party at a press conference, said the President’s address failed to report on the true state of affairs of the nation.
He described the address as being full of empty promises, without deadlines or road maps that could lead to national development.
He said the party also views the contents of the address as just a repetition of statements of the previous year which focused on creating “Opportunities for All” by putting the people first, building a strong and resilient economy, expanding infrastructure and transport and accountable governance.
Nana Owusu said as a constitutional requirement, the State of the Nation address presented an opportunity for the President to give a clear account of his stewardship of the previous year and set a road map by way of vision casting, development and implementation of policies and programmes for its attainment.
According to him, the party believes that the address should have focused on the provisions of Article 34 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, which require the President to report to Parliament on all the steps taken to ensure the realisation of the policy objectives contained in this chapter and in particular, the realisation of basic human rights, a healthy economy, the right to work, the right to good health care and the right to education.
Therefore, what most Ghanaians expected the President to address was for him to give a clear state of affairs when he took over the administration from the previous government, what he has been able to achieve so far, and a clear road map for the attainment of his set development goals for the country, he said.
He said what people wanted to hear from the President and his cabinet was how they intended to fix the current economic challenges and hardships, which include the fall of the Cedi, lack of jobs and the high cost of doing business among other things.
The PPP, he said, must heed Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana’s, call to take immediate and specific actions to reduce the country’s vulnerability to shocks, re-anchor inflation expectations and sustain macroeconomic stability.
Yet, the President sought to downplay the severity of the economic crisis of the country, and did not appeal appropriately to Ghanaians to support efforts to address the problems with urgency, Nana Owusu said.
He advised that statements such as “Ghana is not in economic crisis to call for panic in the country and international circles…the challenges facing the economy are short-lived…government is competent enough to handle them”, must not be repeated if government needed to gain support of the masses.
Nana Owusu said the PPP, therefore, recommend a move beyond looking at donor and development partner support, but to treat local entrepreneurs well and with respect, and also expand the market alongside production.
However, creating a market for the private sector requires selflessness on the part of the President and his administration for real progress.
The party further urged government to implement a comprehensive public sector reform to eliminate excesses, resource with technology and appropriate supervision for quality performance and to strengthen the National Identification System as a single national system, to eliminate the indiscipline under current systems where people could easily get away with wrongdoing.
“We cannot manage what we count, identify, find or control”, he said.
The PPP challenges government to exhibit its commitment towards ensuring transparent and accountable governance by turning the office of the Attorney-General into an Independent Public Prosecutor’s Office separate from the Ministry of Justice to remove it from the present negative influence of partisan politics.
It also called for government’s commitment towards ensuring a clear separation of powers between the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary, to ensure effective checks and balances and ensure that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives were independent from the direct influence of the Executive by way of their appointments.
He said this would ensure true accountability to the people in the communities in which they reside.