Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor of the House.
Mr Speaker, the Statement contained in this document is what is being debated. Mr Speaker, I am impressed by this document, the layout, the binding, the pictures, the glossy nature. They are very impressive but unfortunately, there is very little in the document which impresses me.
Mr Speaker, this Address, has a long list of intentions, proposals, plans and wish lists. It is very heavy on history and the future, but the actual beef which should be the current status of this nation, is missing.
Mr Speaker, the health of each nation is also measured by the number and quality of its social intervention programmes. When I mentioned social intervention programmes, even the ordinary voter at Ofoase/Ayirebi would start reciting to you School Feeding, Cocoa Mass Spraying, high-tech, National Youth Employment, Capitation Grant, the almighty National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Metro Mass Transit, Free Maternal Healthcare, Livelihood Em- powerment Against Poverty (LEAP) [Hear! Hear!] And all those other things that contribute to the health of the nation.
Mr Speaker, these interventions were targeted at the poor and ordinary Ghanaian. These interventions were none discriminatory in nature. So, it covered everyone from every corner of the country.
Mr Speaker, when a Government was voted into power, the least that is expected of that Government is its ability to sustain what it came to inherit, to deepen and broaden it, so that it can leverage that to introduce more social interventions. But what are we seeing? The collapse and demise of these laudable social interventions which were properly implemented and sustained under former President Kuffuor's Government.
Mr Speaker, when I look at this document, I ask myself, what was the President's take on Health? Yes, it may be nice to have modern hospitals with all the facilities, but if the ordinary person in my constituency, in a poor district, cannot have money to access these, all these would be white elephant.
The only vehicle, for poor people is the NHIS which allow everybody, no matter one's status or income level, to access healthcare.
The President said nothing about the current status of the NHIS. Possibly because it is comatose and it is dying. What are we doing about NHIS? Who brought these interventions and why are we allowing these interventions to die out slowly and surely?
Mr Speaker, if we talk of access to health care without talking about how the people can access the health care, without talking about the much touted and much successful NHIS, then we do not have the state of the nation at heart at all.
Mr Speaker, the state of the nation is important, it is a very serious matter, it is not a matter we can joke with so, I am not going to joke with it. This is because, the State of the Nation is the state of the peoples' health; the State of the Nation is the state of its children and its workers. If
the state of the nation is not good enough, all of us are not good enough in whatever endeavour we undertake.
Mr Speaker, on Education, a very important aspect of education. The Capitation Grant which helped to actualise the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) was the foundation for further free education. The Capitation Grant is no more functioning. The foundation is crumbling yet, we are promising a future and distant Free Senior High School.
Mr Speaker, credibility is at the heart of this issue. If we cannot sustain free education at the basic level, how could we then promise people free education at the higher level? What is becoming evident is that, under this Government, when we are told that we are going this direction, be sure that we would be moving the opposite direction. My fear is that, the so-called free education would turn out to be the most expensive Senior High School education come 2016.
Mr Speaker, what did our youthful President say on the youth? One of the interventions that helped to bring hope to our youth was the youth employment programme, in its proper and maiden name, National Youth Employment Programme. It provided the opportunities for the teaming youth of this country. Now, under its new name, Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneur Develop- ment Agency (GYEEDA), what have we seen?
GYEEDA came with a lot of dangerous cousins; if I can refresh my memory, we had youth in almost everything. We had Youth in Driving, Youth in Hair Dressing, Youth in Road Maintenance, Youth in Agriculture, Youth in ICT, Youth in Propaganda and in everything and youth in nothing.