Parliament Thursday morning hosted the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was in the Chamber to discharge an important constitutional assignment to update Ghanaians on the state of affairs in the country
The SONA is a constitutional obligation that provides a platform for the President to appear before Parliament to state the condition in the country, indicating the progress made and the challenges over the past year, and indicate succinctly what it is that the government intends to do to better
Attached below is a full copy of the full address
MESSAGE ON THE STATE OF THE NATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, ON THE OCCASION OF THE STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT, ON THURSDAY, 21ST FEBRUARY, 2019, ACCRA.
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In accordance with protocol and convention, it is good to see that First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Second Lady Samira Bawumia, Spouse of Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Alberta Ocquaye, Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, and Justices of the Supreme Court, Chairperson Nana Otuo Siriboe II, and Members of the Council of State, Chief of Defence Staff Lt. Gen O.B. Akwa, Inspector General of Police David Asante Apeatu, and Service Chiefs, are all present. Mr. Speaker, the House is duly
The House should also take note of the passing last year of some distinguished citizens of our country – Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur; UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan; Senior Minister, J.H Mensah; Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe; PNDC Secretary, K.B Asante, and the Poet Laureate, Prof. Atukwei Okai. May their souls rest and abide in the bosom of the Almighty until the last day of the Resurrection when we shall all meet again. Amen!
Mr. Speaker, I hope the House will bear with me, as I have a lot to say, and I may take quite some time.
A month ago, almost to the day, I was in Yendi, fittingly attired as a self-proclaimed Prince of Dagbon, Prince Abudani, the first of that lineage, to witness the installation of Yaa-Na Mahama Abukari II as the overlord of Dagbon.
Thousands of our compatriots were there to share in the joy of the occasion. It was a ceremony that many had despaired we would ever see, but a new Yaa-Na, accepted by the two gates of Abudu and Andani, was installed on that day.
It brought to an end decades of feuding that laid low the proud and ancient kingdom of Dagbon. It was a happy day, and it marked the climax of a long, tortuous journey, and a hard grind on the part of many people through the years.
Two years ago, when I had the
We had spent enough emotional stress, enough time, enough energy and enough money on the Dagbon dispute; I wanted that amount of emotion, that time, that energy and that money to be spent on making Dagbon and Ghana prosperous.
I am grateful for the hard work and wisdom of the eminent chiefs, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai
The Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs intends to use the momentum of the Dagbon settlement to tackle the other protracted chieftaincy disputes in the country, hopefully, for resolution.
Mr. Speaker, in order to reinforce and support the process of reconciliation and the restoration of peace in Dagbon, I have decided
Again, the requests and agitations for
I am able to state, and every member of this House should be able to testify, that work is going on in each of the 275 constituencies around the country. The water and toilet provision segment of the Special Development Initiatives is taking place in every constituency. We came into office with a plan,
Mr. Speaker, we have also embarked on another aspect of our ambitious
Mr. Speaker, production in the economy, as measured by real GDP growth, has picked up very strongly in the last two years. From 3.4% in 2016, real GDP growth increased to 8.1% in 2017. In 2018, provisional data for the first three quarters indicate a strong real GDP growth of 6.0%, higher than the annual target of 5.6%.
Inflation has dropped from 15.4%, at the end of 2016, to 9% in January this year, the lowest in six years, as announced by the Ghana Statistical Service last week. Interest rates are declining, and so is the Bank of Ghana Monetary Policy Rate. Our trade balance account, for the first time in more than a decade, recorded a surplus in
We have decided to institute a legal framework to help with the discipline. We have passed the Fiscal Responsibility Law, Act 982, capping the deficit at 5% by law, and some two weeks ago, I inaugurated the Presidential Fiscal Responsibility Advisory Council, chaired by the eminent, respected economist, Dr. Paul Acquah, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana and former Deputy Director of the Africa Department of the IMF, with some of the finest and most reputable economists of our country as members. Its purpose is to advise the President on relevant, additional measures needed to maintain fiscal discipline.
We have done this because we know the temptation to go on a spending binge will always be there, we know election years will come around and there will be pressure on
In the meantime, our efforts are bearing some fruits, and the world has taken notice of the improvement in our economic fundamentals. In September last year, after almost a decade, we received our first Sovereign Credit rating upgrade from Standard and Poor’s (S&P). This upgrade saw us move from B minus to B with a stable outlook. In December 2018, we also hosted the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, a visit that was historical in every sense, as this was the first time that an IMF Managing Director had ever stepped foot on Ghanaian soil.
These figures do not include exemptions from the payment of corporate and individual income taxes, concessions on tax rates, petroleum tax reliefs, customs tax exemptions enjoyed by diplomatic missions, and waiver of processing charges at the ports.
If we continue at this rate, in less than sixteen years, half of Ghana’s revenue base will be given away as tax exemptions.
Mr. Speaker, this is not sustainable, and we intend to do something about it to reverse the trend, by introducing suitable measures that may disrupt the easy and comfortable arrangements that many have become accustomed to, but which we have to take to ensure that we have the firmest of foundations for the economic take-off that has escaped us for so long.
Mr. Speaker, workers in the public sector begun the year on a good note, after receiving a 10% increase in their salaries, on top of the 11% increment of 2018. Forty-one thousand (41,000) workers in the informal sector were also enrolled onto Tier-3 pensions schemes, with pensioners seeing an average increment of 11% in their monthly pension incomes, with the lowest income bracket receiving a 14.7% increment. Last year, the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) engaged some one hundred and seven thousand (107,000) youth in various employment modules, with an additional one hundred and twenty-five thousand (125,000) set to be engaged this year.
Mr. Speaker, to consolidate further the relations between the social partners, in the post IMF era, Government will shortly sign a landmark social partnership agreement with Organised Labour/the Trades Union Congress, the Ghana Employers’ Association and Government, represented by the Ministries of Finance and Employment and Labour Relations, to provide a medium for building a sense of cohesion, trust, self-management, frank and open discussions to champion the course of development.
Mr. Speaker, the fight against child
Mr. Speaker, our ports remain important national assets. And we must manage them to improve trade and to the benefit of all Ghanaians.
Ghana may be the toast of the world because of its economy. We have all accepted that these economic fundamentals are the foundation upon which our people will become prosperous, but if they are uneducated or poorly educated, then prosperity will continue to elude them.
In September 2019, a new standards-based curriculum will be rolled out from kindergarten to Class 6 in primary schools. This curriculum has drawn upon the best practices from all over the
Young people have to have options on which career path they choose, and I am glad to announce that all is set for the construction of 10 state-of-the-art Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Centres this year. For far too long, we have preached about the importance of TVET without doing very much to demonstrate this importance. We send or urge young people to go to poorly equipped TVET
We are also bent on demystifying science, mathematics and technology. Ten Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Mr. Speaker, a well-motivated and remunerated teacher is at the
Mr. Speaker, when our children master the connection between science and their everyday lives, we would reach the stage in Ghana where we would be rid of the many diseases, borne of filth and poor hygiene, that are still part of our lives. In pursuing these goals, we need to remind ourselves repeatedly that health is wealth, and it is only a healthy population that can make Ghana prosperous.
In May 2018, Ghana won accolades at the World Health Assembly for having eradicated Trachoma, an eye disease that has plagued us for a long time. Today, our NHIS is buoyant.
To deliver healthcare to Ghanaians more efficiently, in 2018,
The health delivery system will be significantly strengthened by the expected arrival in June of 275 ambulances, i.e. one per constituency, to make treatment of emergency cases more effective. Drone technology has also been introduced into that system to help deliver essential medicine, blood
We still face problems of inadequate infrastructure in our health establishments. We have problems of numerous structures at various stages of completion that cannot be finished and brought into
Ghana’s hardworking nurses and doctors would do their best, as they have always done, to make sure we get the best health care, but it
The 2019 budget made provision for the construction of two hundred thousand (200,000) housing
The most exciting news on the housing landscape, though, is the drafting of plans to regenerate Nima, which holds the dubious title of being Accra’s first slum. It has, of course, progressed very much since those early days, even if it has been unable to shake off the urban-slum title. I am a proud resident of Nima myself, and I am extremely excited that the regeneration plans will not dislodge or dispossess residents, but would rather transform Nima into a well-laid out residential area with full amenities. I am looking forward to it, good work that is being done by the Ministries of Inner City and Zongo Development and Works and Housing.
Another big problem is that of poor drainage in our towns and cities, which leads to flooding during the rainy season. Then, there is the serious problem of sea erosion along the coast that endangers the lives of our coastal people. It is time to deal with these long-term problems and find long-lasting solutions, and we are doing just that.
The Odawna Storm Drains in Accra, which
Our ongoing coastal protection projects are proceeding in Adjoa in the Western Region, Blekusu, New Takoradi phase II (Elmina), Dansoman, Axim and Dixcove. This year, we will also begin others in Amanful Kumah, Dansoman phase II, Komenda, Anomabo, Cape Coast, Mensah Guinea, Ningo Prampram, New Takoradi Phase III, Apam, Kokrobite, Bortianor, Blekusu Phase II and Aboadze-Shama Phase II, Maritime University, Nungua, Takoradi, Anyanui and Essipong.
Mr. Speaker, we are putting in place plans to avert the perennial flooding caused by the spillage of the Bagre dam, which has resulted in the constant loss of lives and property over the years. In the short-term, desilting of the White Volta will be undertaken this year, in conjunction with discussions with the Burkinabes to regulate the flow of the spillage, and mitigate its impact. The Ministry of Works and Housing will, in the coming week, receive a report on a feasibility study conducted by the Chinese company, SinoHydro, for the construction of a dam at Pwalugu, to serve as a receptacle to hold the volume of water spilled from the Bagre Dam for irrigation purposes, and also for the generation of electricity. This will be the permanent solution to the Bagre Dam problem. The requisite approvals will be sought by the Ministry from Cabinet and Parliament to permit the construction of the Pwalugu Dam.
Mr. Speaker, if there has been any Government that has been on the side of Persons with Disabilities, it is my Government. We have increased the share of the District Assemblies Common Fund to Persons with Disabilities from 2% to 3%, and we have also ensured the implementation of our pledge of employing 50% of the persons who manage the country’s toll booths from amongst Persons with Disabilities.
Mr. Speaker, we are continuing with initiatives to improve the Creative Arts Sector. We have also worked to
In September 2018, in Washington D.C., in front of the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States Congress, I proclaimed 2019 as the "Year of Return”, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first 20 West African slaves in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in what was to become the United States of America. We intend to use the symbolism of this “Year of Return” to bring together Africans, persons of African descent, and all well-wishers and lovers of freedom to strengthen the commitment to ensuring that the blots on our history, i.e. the Transatlantic Slave Trade and slavery, never reoccur. In response to this proclamation, some seventy (70) African-American Hollywood celebrities visited Ghana in December 2018. The year-long campaign, being coordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority, is expected to increase arrivals considerably.
Training across the entire tourism sector is also receiving priority. The Hospitality Training Institute has been
Mr. Speaker, the greatest attraction of our country is its people. Yes, we have castles and forts, we have
Last year, I reiterated before you my pledge of improving sanitation in the country, and making Accra the cleanest city in Africa, by the end of my term. There has been a significant improvement in sanitation, even though, I acknowledge, more can be done. However, this is currently the state of play. We have witnessed an increase in the coverage of solid waste management, from 16.6% to 53%, and, over the course of last year, thirty-five thousand, eight hundred and sixty-two (35,862) household toilets were built, as opposed to one thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight (1,698) in 2016. We will intensify efforts at making Accra a clean city.
In 2019, apart from continuing with educating and sensitizing people, we intend to use the bye-laws to enforce cleanliness. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Sanitation are working together to try sanitation
We are launching a National Sanitation Brigade to help us carry this out, and, through this vehicle, we will not only keep our towns and cities
A cursory look around our cities and towns would show us that plastic filth is our biggest problem. We intend to solve this problem through the internationally recognized priorities of waste: reduction first, followed by reuse, recycle, recovery and, lastly, disposal, which is to be avoided whenever possible.
A vibrant recycling industry in Ghana could recover nearly one million tonnes of waste plastics from the environment and landfills annually, to be recycled into basic-need products valued at GH¢2 billion per year, creating many jobs across the economy. Currently, extensive discussions are being concluded with investors on the most sustainable options available to rid Ghana of this plastic filth menace.
These provisions empower the External Service Provider (SGS) to verify, assess and collect the advance recycle eco fee on all electrical and electronic equipment from all exporting countries, and also to establish a state-of-the-art recycling facility at Agbogbloshie, whose construction will begin in April. Not only would we solve the problem of waste disposal in an environmentally-friendly manner, setting up the recycling facility will lead to the creation of over twenty thousand (20,000) direct jobs, through the establishment of associated holding
The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Programme is being implemented in over four thousand, five hundred (4,500) communities in one hundred and thirty (130) districts to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) Communities.
Mr. Speaker, affordable and reliable energy is absolutely critical to
Government is committed to achieving an electricity generation mix that ensures diversity and security of energy supply. For this reason, we will continue to promote the deployment of renewable energy in line with our policy target of 10% renewables in the energy mix from the current 1%.
Another justification for renewable energy is that, in spite of Ghana’s excess electricity generation capacity, we can still not achieve our universal access target because there are many Ghanaian communities, especially those on islands and
To reduce government’s expenditure on utilities, and also promote the use of solar power for government and public buildings, the Ministry of Energy initiated the Solar Rooftop Programme. The Ministry is leading by example with the installation of a 65-kilowatt solar rooftop system at its premises.
Jubilee House will also be powered, as from August this year, by solar energy, as an example to other public institutions. In fact, government’s target is to install up to 200 megawatts of distributed solar power by 2030 in both residential and non-residential facilities in order to reduce Government’s liabilities to ECG (PDS Ghana Ltd).
Renewable energy has also become a necessary addition to our energy sector because it has increasingly become cheaper, and is key to the implementation of our international obligations under Sustainable Development Goal 7, on access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, as well as Sustainable Development Goal 13, on urgent action to combat climate change.
There has been good news with the recent announcement by Aker Energy of one of the biggest oil finds in Africa.
On the fight against corruption in the oil industry, and to aid transparency, we have established a National Register of Contracts on which all the Petroleum Agreements signed by the Government have been published. This provides a platform for citizens to scrutinize the oil contracts signed by
We have also passed the General Petroleum Regulations, which provide for the disclosure of beneficial ownership information of companies operating in Ghana’s oil and gas industry. This will ensure that people do not hide in the shadows to appropriate oil blocks to themselves, at the expense of the citizens of Ghana. The interest of major oil companies in Ghana has become dramatic. Today, oil companies such as the American giant, ExxonMobil, and the Norwegian conglomerate, Aker, have signed petroleum exploration agreements with Ghana. Through the launch of the “GHANA OIL AND GAS LICENSING ROUNDS 2018”, the bidding process for the allocation of new petroleum rights to prospective investors, the first such exercise in our history, other global players such as BP, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, and Total have expressed interest in coming to Ghana.
Under the Presidential Support programme, one thousand, three hundred and fifty (1,350) start-ups and small businesses have benefitted from a special government business support programme. Beneficiaries received between ten thousand (GH¢10,000) and one hundred thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢100,000) each, at a special interest rate of 10%, instead of the average prevailing market rate of 26%.
This is designed to help grow and expand their
Businesses, which benefitted, included agribusiness and agro-processing, information communication and technology, tourism and recreation, sanitation and waste management, health, food and beverages, green and ecological businesses, sports and real estate
Already established businesses are also receiving help, with an amount of two hundred and thirty million Ghana cedis (GH¢230 million) being disbursed among sixteen (16) companies under the stimulus package. This has led to the creation of eight thousand, five hundred (8,500) to ten thousand (10,000) direct and indirect jobs.
Proof, if some were needed that we are getting something right, and generating the right atmosphere to attract foreign business, has come with the announcement that three major international automobile manufacturers, Volkswagen, Nissan
Mr. Speaker, the “One-District-One-Factory” policy has taken off, and 79 factories under the scheme are at various stages of operation or construction. Another 35 are going through credit appraisal. All told, there is a lot of activity going on under the scheme, and it has awoken the interest of young people to go into
I am glad to report that MASLOC has been revamped, and is getting back to do what it was set up to do. There has been strict adherence to credit procedures and prudent management of the credit recovery process. These have resulted in a recovery rate of 89% of loans administered under a pilot scheme introduced in 2017.
MASLOC was given an amount of thirty-five million Ghana cedis (GH¢35 million) in October 2018 for disbursement. This is the first time an amount of such magnitude has been given to the Centre outside of an election year. Of the thirty-five million Ghana cedis that were received, the Centre has disbursed twenty million, five hundred and sixty-three thousand, one hundred Ghana cedis (GH¢20,563,100), with fourteen million, three hundred and seventeen thousand, two hundred Ghana cedis (GH¢14,317,200) to be disbursed for pending applications, which have been approved. So far, 87% of the monies disbursed have gone to women, i.e. to twenty-four thousand, five hundred and eighty-two (24,582) women. The 2016 NPP Manifesto promised to allocate 50% of MASLOC funds to women, and we have surpassed this promise.
It has obviously been noticed that interesting things are happening at the successfully restructured MASLOC, and that is why the Centre was allocated an amount of two hundred million Ghana cedis (GH¢ 200 million) in the 2019 budget. Such an amount is unprecedented in the history of MASLOC. In 2019, MASLOC will give increased attention to youth start-up businesses in vegetable farming, poultry, piggery
And, while I am on the subject of rogue activities in the banking sector, it is probably the time to mention the MenzGold debacle. This is a tragic phenomenon that appears to have occurred in plain sight, and affected a lot of people, in spite of warnings from official institutions. As the authorities try to unravel the intricacies of what happened, I admonish all Ghanaians to learn the necessary lessons for the future, even as State institutions work to bring a resolution to the matter, and those who are seen to have indulged in criminal activities, are brought to justice. Last week, I inaugurated the Presidential Financial Stability Advisory Council, an inter-institutional consultative coordination body, which groups together all the regulators of our financial system, and whose purpose is to advise the President on the measures to be taken to preserve the stability of the financial system. The existence of such a body would have forestalled the emergence of the
There has been food and for the first time in a long while, we had more than we needed. It was not that long ago that Ghana was in the humiliating position of having to import maize from her landlocked Sahelian
Based on the successes chalked in 2017 and then in 2018, the Ministry took giant strides to scale up the Planting for Food and Jobs Campaign in
We are hoping that
The programme will offer participating individuals and groups the requisite inputs, such as cages, fingerlings, fish feed
For traditional fishing, Government will collaborate with the private sector to facilitate the provision of five thousand (5,000) outboard motors and fifty-five thousand, two hundred and fifty (55,250) bales of prescribed fishing gears through the fisheries associations. To promote the effective and efficient distribution of premix fuel, we will continue to use the premix fuel tracking system, and audit landing beaches, measures which have ensured that, since November 2018, there has been no report of premix diversion, a marked improvement from the past.
To modernize the fisheries sector, US$185 million of loan money has been earmarked for the construction of twelve (12) landing sites and two (2) fishing
This is why we placed the ban on all small-scale mining, so we could find ways to deal with the illegal mining, or
As I have said on several occasions, this government cannot be against mining. It bears repeating that, with the Almighty
Mr. Speaker, we intend, also, to mine, at long last, our bauxite deposits in order to establish an integrated
Since its formation, the leadership of the corporation has been working tirelessly with transaction advisors and other stakeholders to ensure the objective of achieving an integrated
The same model is being pursued
I would like to mention the improvements that have been registered in dealing with nomadic herdsmen. The Ghana Armed Forces assisted the National Security to embark on OPERATION ROADSTAR, and as a
Government is pleased to have fulfilled its promise to the Military Personnel by increasing the United Nations Peacekeeping Troops contribution allowances from Thirty United State Dollars (USD 30.00) to Thirty-Five United State Dollars (USD35.00) per soldier per day. And as promised, we will continue to pay the troops regularly at the operational areas.
We will continue to modernize and provide the equipment needed by the Military to help them carry out their mandate effectively. Tomorrow, I will be presenting to the Ghana Armed Forces 50 ANKAI Buses, the first tranche of the 138 Staff and Operational Vehicles of various categories, and 26 dispatch motorcycles. This year, we will provide the Army with 30 Otokar Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), and 6 Fast Patrol Boats for the Navy.
We will also provide improved training facilities by transforming the Military Academy into a World Class Institution, and expand the housing project from six 16 flats to 44, and begin constructing 160 2-bedroom apartments across the country. This year, we will also complete and commission the 500-bed Military Hospital in the Ashanti Region, and begin the third phase of this project.
Mr. Speaker, the amendment of LI 1332, which is seeking to change the length of service of the men and women of the other ranks of the Ghana Armed Forces from 25 to 30 years and the associated career progression plan, has been reviewed, laid and passed by Parliament, and will be implemented this year as planned.
And this must be the appropriate time and place to mention the abysmal state of the lower courts around our country. Many people must have seen on television the barely concealed outrage of the Chief Justice, as she has been going around examining the courts. It is obvious that most of the lower courts are not fit for purpose, and we must provide suitable structures for our law courts. Discussions on how to raise the money are currently ongoing, and I am optimistic that a solution will be found.
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to state that, as you know, Parliament has virtually completed its deliberations on the Right To Information Bill, and that, any moment from now, the nation will hear the news of its long, anticipated passage. I will, happily, assent to it as soon as it is brought to my table.
I am glad to be able to report that the Accra to Tema railway service has started running on the refurbished line. The opening of the Accra/Nsawam line has been
If we want the railways to work, we would all have to take an interest in and stop the activities of encroachers on the railway lands. The rehabilitation of the narrow-gauge line will continue from Nsawam to Koforidua. Work is continuing on the rehabilitation of the Kojokrom to Tarkwa section of the Western line, whilst work on the standard gauge section from Kojokrom to Manso is ongoing.
Apart from all the investment being made, the government is committing an extra one billion US dollars to the development of the new railway network. Five hundred million dollars ($500 million) will be applied to the development of the Western line, and five hundred million dollars ($500 million) will be applied to the first phase of the Kumasi to Paga section of the national network.
The development of the Tema/Ouagadougou railway line is also progressing steadily. Twelve shortlisted companies have been invited to proceed to the next stage of the procurement process. This year, land acquisition will commence beyond the Volta River at Mpakadan, and the strategic investor will be selected.
To sum it up, the railways are coming in a big way into Ghana, and we shall open up our country for the development that we all desire.
Mr. Speaker, Government recognizes the significance of aviation to our country’s economic and social development. Operations at the Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi airports have been revamped, with the resurgence in domestic airline operations through the introduction of new domestic operators like Unity Air and Passion Air. Soon, the flag of Ghana will be flown again, as we have identified strategic investors to launch a Home-Based Carrier.
Whilst we embark on the protracted process of building roads and railways to open up our country, we are doing so with modern technology. Mobile telephony has almost covered the entire country, and broadband internet connectivity is available in many places.
There are one million, two hundred (1,200,000) registered and verified addresses through the National Digital Property Addressing System; in other words, we have joined the modern world, and gradually leaving the right turn at the blue kiosk, and opposite the Kofi-broke-man seller, behind us.
People are able to renew their National Health Insurance cards in minutes in the comfort of their own homes. You can now renew your driving
During the course of that morning, some events took place in that constituency, which led to an uproar in the country. My first instinct was to let the police do their investigations, and then
I could have sat it out, as some did, for Akwatia, Atiwa, Chereponi, Talensi
The events of last Monday, in Kumasi, where a meeting of the national and regional executives of the opposition National Democratic Congress was broken up by acts of violence, leading to the tragic death of a citizen, have reinforced the urgent need for us to find that path. I want to use the platform of this Message to make a sincere, passionate appeal to the leaders of the two main political parties in our country, NPP and NDC, to come together, as soon as possible, preferably next week, to agree on appropriate measures to bring an end to this worrying and unacceptable phenomenon of vigilantism in our body politic. I have asked the leadership of the NPP to extend an invitation to the leadership of the NDC for such a meeting. The security services of the country will be on standby to assist this meeting. If voluntary disbandment by the parties is not feasible, then I will initiate legislation on the matter. Vigorous debate and the exchange of ideas should be the true basis of political dialogue and competition in our country, not the activities of party vigilante groups.
Mr. Speaker, what was tolerated over the years cannot and must not be accepted anymore. We must not take our peace and security for granted--- not for a moment. Our children and grandchildren will not forgive us if we were to compromise our peace and stability. I will not permit that to happen under my watch. Our forebears paid too high a price, with their blood and toil, to bequeath to us this beautiful nation; the lives of our citizens are too precious to waste.
So, let us come together shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand and let us all be guided by the inspirational words of (the second stanza of) our national anthem:
“Hail to thy name, O Ghana,
To thee we make our solemn vow:
Steadfast to build together
A nation strong in Unity;
With our gifts of mind and strength of arm,
Whether night or day, in the midst of
In every need, whatever the call may be,
To serve thee, Ghana, now and
Mr. Speaker, we have our challenges, but our nation is in good health.
I thank you very much for your attention.
May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.