Ghana: MPs Concludes Debate On State of the Nation’s Address

Members of Parliament (MPs) have concluded debate on the 2016 state of the nation's address delivered by President John Dramani Mahama after two weeks of heated debate from both sides of the House.

The Majority Leader, S. K. Babgin and the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, were the last to contribution to the motion to thank the President for the address.

Mr Babgin in his contribution touched on article 67 of the Constitution and the uniqueness of the President's message to the nation. He described the 2016 state of the nation's address, which happens to be the 25th message delivered to Parliament, as refreshingly unique and that which stood out among all the messages.

"Mr. Speaker, the 25th message, the message now under scrutiny of Parliament and the country stands out. It is refreshingly unique in presentation, unique in innovation, unique in clarity and unique in details, "he said.

He said the President succeeded in demonstrating how the government was "Changing Lives" and "Transforming Ghana," adding that the President set himself the task of demonstrating to the world how the theme of the NDC government, "Putting People First" had been translated from rhetoric to reality.

"Mr. Speaker, the President did not say all lives have been changed, he did not say all the work and problems of Ghana have been solved, he did not even say that the NDC government achieved this feat alone, no, " he added.

Mr Bagbin pointed out that the faces showed during the presentation were living testimonies of how people's lives were changed, adding that the President on countless occasions acknowledged the contribution of Parliament.

He noted that the President was a leader who knew that governance was teamwork and that development was an unending journey, a process and not an event.

Mr Bagbin said the President told the House how he inherited legacy challenges in education, health, energy, housing, roads, water, the economy, infrastructure, Parliament and the judiciary as well as how he boldly took responsibility, not focused on blaming others, but acknowledged the enormity of the task and how he led the country to chalk unimaginable successes in all sectors of the country.

'Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians and the world even need not be told. The principle of res ipsa loquitur applies here. The evidence speaks for itself. There is visible evidence for all to see,' he said

Minority leader, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, on his part noted that going to the IMF would have implication for Ghanaians. He cautioned that Ghana could face debt unsustainability if the current debt to GDP, which currently stands at 70 per cent, was not addressed.

"This is exceedingly worrying as it is tipping the country into the League of Nations with a high risk of debt distress," he stressed. He pointed out that this would compromise Ghana's ability to raise further financing from the international finance market

The Minority leader revealed that the interest payment on Ghana's debt stock in 2014 was four times Ghana's oil revenue for that year. Mr Mensah-Bonsu said this year's interest payment would amount to 10.5 billion, about 24 per cent of Ghana's GDP which would go into debt servicing.

Source: ISD