Parties give varying views on President’s State of Nation Address

Politics of Saturday, 25 February 2017



President Akufo Addo SONA2017play videoPresident Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Political parties have given varying views on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s maiden State of the Nation Address. While some commended the President for the presentation, others said he was either partisan in his delivery or was unimpressive.

Good points

Commenting on the address, the National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Mornah, said the President was on point when he condemned the post-election violence by supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“The President did a good delivery today. His presentation was apt. I have difficulties with some aspects of his delivery, but in all, I think that the presentation was good,” he said.

Mr Mornah said the call for seizure of lawlessness after the transition was highly commendable and using himself to set as example for adherence to time, as well as the free senior high school (SHS) policy were the high points in the delivery.

He said he was, however, disappointed with the outfit of the President and his Vice, after the President’s message on the garment industry.

Garment industry

“When he spoke about the garment industry, I was elated; only for me to turn around to realise that the Vice-President was in a three-piece suit and the President was in a three-piece suit too. Then I asked myself, how can you be promoting local garment industry but wearing a three-piece suit?” he queried.

He said he expected President Akufo-Addo to use the occasion to display the richness of the Ghanaian culture; “on that note, he did not impress me.”

Stock exchange

Mr Mornah described the President’s announcement to list the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Ghana Grid Company Limited (Gridco) on the stock exchange as an attempt to sell those institutions.

“I am flabbergasted. The President is selling the VRA, ECG and Gridco; and when you sell to the private sector, the private sector has one motive – profit.

“So don’t be surprised that you will have electricity but you cannot pay,” he said, stressing that there was the issue of social responsibility on the part of the government to the people of Ghana.

He said the people of Ghana were in the known that they deserved the right to better living, “and so if you sell the VRA, their ability to provide for the social cover is non-existent because the private person will not allow you to come and dictate their price for them.”

State institutions sold

Mr Morna recalled the sale of some state institutions such as Ghana Airways, Black Star Line, the Ghana National Trading Cooperation (GNTC) and Nsawam Food Cannery, “and we are still poor. So, if Nana Akufo-Addo wants to sell VRA because we are poor, I can tell you we will still be poor.”

“Selling is not the way out. They have said managerial inefficiency. You don’t sell off to cure managerial inefficiency,” he stressed.

Good delivery

For his part, the 2016 flag bearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mr Ivor Kwabena Greenstreet described the speech by President Akufo-Addo as vibrant, saying that he was confident that whatever he spoke of finding solutions to would be achieved.

He said what the President had done was to outline the challenges the country was facing and to prescribe solutions to them.

Mr Greenstreet said he believed in the President’s commitment to finding solutions to the challenges, “after all, we all campaigned on the agenda of change and now there is change and we want to see improvement in the lives of the Ghanaian people.”

Figures on economy

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said the figures the President gave regarding the state of the economy were the same figures the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, gave in his lecture in the run-up to the 2016 general election.

He said the President did not present anything different or new and was hopeful that now that the President had a knowledge of the state of the economy, he would work towards fixing it.

Mr Nketia described the announcement by President Akufo-Addo to list the VRA, ECG and Gridco on the stock market as a mark of double standard, since the NPP was strongly against the then government’s move to enter into public-private partnership.