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Opinions of Thursday, 17 February 2011

Columnist: Atta-Krufi, Hayford

20 key Questions for the President to address

...in 2011 State of the Nation Address


The President will in the course of today deliver his 2011 State of the Nation Address. We in NPP UK & Ireland presume that he will precede his address with an evaluation of his 2010 address. Some key messages that were delivered in his address last year still raise a number of questions as they have not been addressed. We will therefore like to help him focus on the key questions that he needs to address in his address this year.

1. Last year the President said “We will invest in human resource development, in key infrastructure, in the development of the oil and gas sectors, and above all, in the modernisation of agriculture and related processing activities”. As bulky and vague as the promise is, we would like the President to give us evidence of his achievement in this area.

2. Last year the President said “I have instructed the Energy Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport, to fast-track investments in the necessary infrastructure, including a Deep Sea Port with a dedicated oil services facility and the rehabilitation of the Western railway corridor”. One year on, where is the evidence?


3. Last year the President said “we will facilitate the development of a reliable, cost-effective and world-class communications infrastructure. We will also fast-track the development of a road transport network that will meet the economic, social and environmental needs of Ghana in the years ahead”. One year on, where is the evidence?

4. Last year the President said “This goal of "Food Security" will be a national priority. We will marshal all the resources at Ghana's disposal to meet this end, for we cannot be a well-respected member of the community of nations... and when we next seek the people's mandate, they will judge our success in this task”. Food Prices are rising very fast at a rate not seen since the eighties. Can the President address the progress his government has made on this to seek the people’s mandate in 2012


5. Last year the President said “I so often hear the cry from our people that money is hard to come by.”Where is the money in our pockets that you promised?" is a question we hear almost daily. Well, Madam Speaker – I understand just how our people feel! But here too, real change is happening!” we see a double speak here. Did he or did he not promise that?

6. Last year the President said “the Buffer Stock Management Agency will in the course of the year take over and rehabilitate the 12 warehouses of the erstwhile Ghana Food Distribution Corporation for its operations”. Can the President give us an update on this please?

7. Last year the President said “Pair trawling has been prohibited and the Navy has been instructed to apprehend all those who engage in that criminal activity which is destroying the livelihood of our hardworking fishermen and their dependants.” Has our President bothered to check from our fisher folks at Moree and other fishing towns and communities along the coast?


8. Last year the President said “Meanwhile I have directed all sectors to mainstream job-creation into their programmes and Ministers are required by the middle of the year to produce sector blueprints for the creation of jobs.” One year on which one has arrived, the blueprint of the jobs?

9. Last year the President said “A number of other programmes will begin this year. These include the provision of free education for disabled children; the refurbishing of science resource centres; the provision of infrastructural facilities in Senior High Schools, the removal of Schools under Trees and the elimination of the school shift system.”


10. Last year the President said “Beginning this year, in addition to whatever the Central Government is doing in the Housing sector, we shall expect our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to invest a sizeable proportion of their District Assemblies Common Fund in rental housing for lower and lower-middle income groups. Where are these rental housing projects?


11. A Last year the President said “A National District Assemblies Rental Housing Project Task Force will be established to oversee the project and make sure that this problem is given the highest priority.” Where are these rental housing projects?

12. Last year the President said “Our predecessors started a number of “affordable” rental housing projects in some parts of the country but none of them was completed. I have directed the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing to complete all those housing projects to help alleviate the acute housing problem facing the country.” To this day the President’s promise has just remained a promise and Dr. Tony Aidoo has stated these projects must be left to rot. What is the President’s take on this promise?

13. Last year the President said “This year I shall constitute a multi-partisan group, under the guidance of the Electoral Commission, to revisit the whole issue of the registration and voting of Ghanaians abroad.” Where is the multi-partisan group one year on?


14. Last year the President said “a multi-partisan "Presidential Transition Bill" will be established this year to regulate the process of transition from one Government to another and which will, I hope, put an end to the acrimony and bitterness that has characterised past transitions, has been agreed upon. It is to be presented to Cabinet for consideration and to Parliament for enactment.” Where is the Bill or Act, one year on?

15. Last year the President said “A repealing Executive Instrument will be laid before the House in the course of this year - which will restore the original non-discriminatory Honours Warrant of 1st July 1960 executed by the First President of the Republic, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.” Even though we see this as a cheap shot at NPP and President Kufuor, we would like to know what progress he has made on this cheap propaganda.

16. Last year the President said “for Members of Parliament, we will implement two new programmes that we promised in our Manifesto. The first is to establish a "Member of Parliament Constituency Development Fund" separate and apart from the District Assemblies Common Fund.” Is this in place and if so where?

17. Last year the President said “we will begin the programme to construct and furnish a standard "Member of Parliament Constituency Office" in each of the 230 constituencies and to pay one Administrator identified by an incumbent Member of Parliament a fixed monthly stipend.” Is this another litany of failed promises?

18. Last year the President said “The records speak for themselves; Ghana is no longer an attractive destination for the illicit drug trade and I make no apologies for that. I assure you that we shall chase the drug barons and their mules and other couriers out of the town.” Fine words but is this what we saw in the Wikileaks report?

19. Last year the President said “We cannot fail to recognise the drop in the rate of armed robbery and organised crime and I commend the Police and other security agencies for the effort they are putting into fighting crime. Be it; robbery, murder, rape, or narcotic offences, the statistics speak to a reduction in crime.” So why the Causing Fear and Panic legislation one year on? Is the chasing of district Chief Executives and the forcible closure of National Health Insurance Offices by fotsoldiers of your party not organised crime?

20. Last year the President said “I am charging the Police Service to submit within the shortest possible time a blueprint for a drastic reduction in road accidents.” Is the blueprint the cause of 250 road accident deaths this year alone?
Until these hanging questions are addressed fully, we will consider the annual State of the Nation another wasted opportunity which defines the now dead “Better Ghana” Agenda.

Hayford Atta-Krufi, Chairman
Nana Yaw Sarpong Communications Officer
On behalf of NPP UK & Ireland