Mr Speaker, in winding up, in my last sentence, let me mention that the social protection, programmes spanning the educational sector, the health sector, job creation et cetera have expanded; there were so many beneficiaries, and its geographical spread has also expanded, all in keeping with our commitment to our social democratic vision captured in the Manifesto of the National Democratic Congress.
On that note, I would want to associate myself with the Motion and to thank His Excellency Mr President for delivering to us such an excellent indication of the state of our nation.
Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC -- Odododiodioo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to also associate myself with the Motion ably moved by the Hon Member of Parliament for Mion, to thank His Excellency the President for a wonderful, incisive, decisive action, oriented State of the Nation Address.
Mr Speaker, even though the State of the Nation Address was on four basic pillars, putting people first, a robust economy, expanding infrastructure and open and transparent accountable Government, I would want to focus on the first pillar, “putting people first”.
Mr Speaker, if you come from a constituency where I come from, the capital of Ghana, Odododiodioo, Ashiedu Keteke, Oduofo Amanfo, anaa nmē anaa tē, you will appreciate the Address given by the President. The people of Odododiodioo will appreciate the President's wonderful rendition, especially expatiating his vision for putting the people first.
We are so happy that the President, in putting this vision across, elaborated especially “health for all”, and if you permit me, Mr Speaker, I beg to quote from the Address:
“Presently, our healthcare system still has personnel deficits and service deficiencies despite the facility expansion and human capacity development programmes we have been implementing. In the next four years, we will work towards improving access, service quality, increased personnel, enhanced working conditions across the various professions in the health sector.
In furtherance of our plan, we will undertake the following:
1. Construction of an ultra- modern, new teaching hospital for the University of Ghana Medical School…”
Mr Speaker, I am emphasizing this because normal visits to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has shown to me the stress and the pressure on it. Many of our people do not appreciate that that hospital is a referral hospital and as such, even basic ailments, OPD activities are reported to Korle-Bu. They have no options but in situations like that, to take care of such patients.
Just across the border, we have health facilities that could be upgraded to that level. But because of the level at which it is, my constituents are always forced to go to Korle-Bu for major attention like surgery, caesarean section, deliveries and others. So, I am very happy that the President is going to help in expanding facilities in Korle-Bu and other hospitals across the country.
But let me go to another section which is of prime importance to me as a person--youth and sports develop- ment. Mr Speaker, sports is one of the disciplines we say has three legs. We think that if any of the legs, like the stool we have in our homes, three- legged stools is broken, it cannot sit or stand. Sports is principally on three legs, its development, its management and promotion. If you relegate any of these legs, you cannot have sports development or sports growth.
The President mentioned that Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) would be encouraged to build one sporting facility in their districts-- wonderful idea and I thank the President for it.
We have said so many times that in the past, there was a directive that 5 per cent of the Common Fund to the District Assemblies or the MMDAs should be reserved for sports development. But we all know that these releases to the District Assembly itself are not adequate to take care of the social problems they have, let alone look at sports infrastructure development.
The current performance of our sports men and women in the various sporting disciplines cannot be compared to the past. The last time we won an African Cup of Nations in football was in 1982. The last time we won medals at the Olympic Games, Mr Speaker, I cannot remember and recollect easily. The various disciplines Ghana used to have as flagships have come low. Go through Odododiodioo, and you would realise that our boxing gyms are nothing to write home about --