What will be Akufo-Addo’s legacy?

BY: Kobby Asmah

Today, the national focus will be on our President as he delivers the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The SONA is a constitutional demand often regarded as an overview by the President of what he was able to achieve in the previous years of his administration, what to expect and forecast some projections.

Per Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, the President is mandated to deliver this special message to Parliament hence President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s appearance before the

First Session of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic is an important constitutional function, which will see him speak on a wide range of national concerns that covers the state of the economy, infrastructure, health, education, security and governance, among other issues.

This will also be his first message to Parliament after being sworn in for the second term as the President of the land after the December 7, 2020 election.

Pronouncements

Already, President Akufo-Addo, in his address to mark the 64th Independence day ceremony last Saturday, pledged a number of changes that would benefit the citizens by the time the 65th independence day was marked next year.

Indeed, after speaking on government’s economic recovery plans for the post-corona virus era, the President used the phrase ‘a year from now’ six times in outlining his projections spanning from jobs, health and education.

“A year from now, the benefits of economic recovery will begin to show. A year from now, our quest to move Ghana to a situation beyond aid will be accelerated and our self-reliance enhanced. A year from today, we should regain our pride of place as the fastest-growing economy not only in Africa but also in the world.

A year from now, we should be processing more and more of our raw materials to help create jobs for the millions of Ghanaian youth.

A year from now, more and more Ghanaian children should be having access to education. A year from now, every district and region should have a hospital where residents will be able to have decent and affordable health care,” he stated.

Key concern

Fulfilling these pledges cannot be taken lightly, if our President is to leave an enduring legacy to enhance livelihoods.

Today, as our President speaks on the state of the nation, there will be varied concerns and expectations from the citizenry.

But my key concern will be on how he addresses the infrastructure challenges, particularly on roads. Across the country, every community seems to be crying for good roads. The communities are not only bemoaning the poor roads in their vicinity but how it is impacting negatively on development.

Fortunately and so refreshing, our President for the second year running, has declared 2020 and 2021 years of roads.

This is a promise that must be kept.

Landmark roads

Yes, the country can boast of some few landmark roads and readily in mind is the Accra Tema Motorway, which is part of the yet to be completed dual carriageway called NI which starts from Aflao to Elubo. But most of our highways including the dualisation of the N6 from Accra to Kumasi, the Eastern Corridor road, The N10 Tamale to Bolgatanga road and the N12 Wa to Lawra road are all in poor stages of completion.

Stimulating growth

As a driver of growth, job creation and competitiveness, road infrastructure is the first important step needed to open up communities, including rural, to stimulate economic growth and development.

My view supports the assertion that road infrastructure is the most important of all public assets and indeed its significant contribution to national development cannot be discounted.

Undoubtedly, reliable road infrastructure efficiently helps to move goods and services across borders and much more connect the people across constituencies, districts and metropolitan areas to seek opportunities for high levels of education, good health care and employment.

Spatial planning

Today, we are also experiencing the springing up of sprawling communities, especially within the big cities, without any proper large-scale spatial planning. Well-planned urban development projects designed to improve connectivity, scale up cities’ competitiveness, and, in return, attract investments are missing in the scheme of things.

It is for this reason all efforts must be done quickly to fill our huge road infrastructural gap to help transform the economy. Anything short of this expectation cannot quicken the pace of accelerated national growth and bring important social benefits to the ordinary person.

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