General News of Wednesday, 22 February 2017
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s State of the Nation Address delivered to parliament on Tuesday, 21 February was apt, Abdul-Malik Kweku Baako, editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide, has said.
Mr Akufo-Addo’s address, which centred on the economy, governance, corruption, security, education and several other sectors, was greeted with varying opinions, with Minority Members of Parliament and members of the opposition National Democratic Congress saying it failed to make known the real state of the nation and was rather full of lamentation.
In his maiden State of the Nation address on Tuesday February 21, President Akufo-Addo told parliament, among other things, that as part of fixing problems in the power sector, his government had initiated a process to develop a national electricity master plan, which will also explore the possibility of listing VRA and GRIDCo on the stock market.
According to him, his predecessor John Mahama had left behind a heavily indebted energy sector.
“The attempts by the previous government to resolve the ‘dumsor’ crisis have led to a gargantuan debt overhang in the sector,” Nana Akufo-Addo said.
“We have inherited a heavily indebted energy sector, with the net debt reaching $2.4billion as of December 2016. I have to point out the alarming fact that $800million of this debt is owed to local banks, which threatens their stability.
“Huge indebtedness of the energy sector constitutes the single major hurdle to Ghanaians enjoying reliable and affordable electricity supply. The cost of energy destroys businesses large and small. It destroys jobs. It compounds poverty. The current state of the energy situation in our country is unsatisfactory. My government will enforce the procurement law. We will insist on open and competitive bidding for power capacity procurement.”
Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show, Kokrokoo, on Wednesday, Mr Baako said: “I wasn’t surprised at his delivery, articulation, body language, and confidence. Those are things I know about him for many years and I am sure many Ghanaians [know] too, and so I was not surprised. I was rather looking for content.
“I don’t think he was disappointing at all with the content, it was excellent. I have had some post-speech critical remarks by some people – those remarks are predictable and legitimate. Those belonging to the other side of the divide are expected not to appreciate the address in its entirety, some were honest enough to admit that portions of the statement were good, others also thought it was just a useless thing, some said it was intellectually dishonest presentation, people said he lied left, centre . For this reason, we are waiting for the alternative State of the Nation address, which we know will come, to enable us do a balanced analysis of the situation.”