General News of Thursday, 26 February 2015
President John Mahama in his traditional Ghanaian smock apparel was met with traditional music, and a parade held in his honor.
He was then welcomed to the House by the Speaker of Parliament as he entered to deliver his third state of the nation address as the Constitution demands in Article 67.
The President thanked God and Ghanaians for his third year in the seat of Government. He then talked about Ghana’s sixth March anniversary which will be observed next week.
The President said the country was confronted with many hills, and one of such is the power crisis the country was facing. He expressed concern about the severe effects of the energy shortfall and businesses and industries.
He noted that this situation has occurred in many times in the country’s history.Unlike in the past when the problem was managed, President Mahama says he will fix it.
“I John Dramani Mahama will fix this energy challenge,” he said.
The President spent time to also outline the expansion of all power generation sources to meet the country growing electricity demand.
He also stressed for a restructuring of the country’s power sector to ensure more efficiency particular in the areas of hydro and thermal.
Under the new Millennium Challenge Compact, there is an opportunity to transform the Electricity Company of Ghana into a more reliable service provider.
As an immediate measure, the President reiterated the government’s plan which is on course to bring in emergency power plants. These plants will bring in additional 1,000 megawatts of power.
The President said he will hold the Power Minister accountable on his promise to end the power crisis by the end of the year. The President also spoke about efforts to increase Ghana’s supply to about 300million standard cubic feet meters per day.
On Solar energy, the President announced plans were on course to make solar available for small-scale businesses and also make it available for residential apartments who wish to have it. He says over 200,000 rooftop solar panels will be installed as part of the project.
The President also reiterated the Energy Commission’s call for a positive attitude towards energy conservation. The President said saving energy was also important for the country.
On the economy, the President noted that a document for the transformation of the country’s economy is available.
On Education, he reiterated efforts being made towards quality education. He mentioned the BECE r-sit policy as one of the means to improve basic education and also make education more accessible to all who wish to seek higher education. He was particularly excited about a 46-year-old man who found it prudent to sit for the exams.
For the year 2015 alone, the President announced the commencement of the free distribution of 10,000 sandals for some pupils in the basic schools, 6 million textbooks, and 500,000 pieces of school uniforms, and 15 million textbooks amongst others.
He also announced plans to improve science education at all levels of education. He says gender-parity also remains a concern to Government since many girls were not in school. He thus announced some freebies such as sandals, books, uniforms and others for girls to encourage them to be in school.
The President also noted that as part of efforts towards quality education, the shift system at the basic level was gradually being eliminated to improve quality education.
The President noted that 73 community-based senior high schools were under construction as part of improving access to education. He added that construction for 50 more of those schools will kick start this year.
He reiterated the beginning of the progressive free SHS education this year. He said the first phase was going to benefit 367,000 students who were not going to pay any fees. He noted that funding has been approved by Parliament in the 2015 budget.
He also noted that secondary school enrollment has increased by about ten percent, whiles the tertiary institutions have also seen considerable increase. The President also noted that Government’s plans to establish more universities was on course.
He however admitted a lot more was still needed to be done to improve the achievements chalked in education.
He noted that work on the conversion of polytechnics into technical university status was on course.