Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President spoke for two hours and fifteen minutes. I dare say that, if he was Bikila Abebe, the Ethiopian long distance runner, he would have finished an Olympic marathon during that period. It was a long speech. My assessment of the speech -- the man can talk, he spoke, style, yes, but substance very limited -- [Hear! Hear!].
Mr Speaker, the President talked about Ghana as a nation in transition, he was right and on the cast of many exciting opportunities. But Mr Speaker, let me say that, it is what we as a nation make of these opportunities which would make our nation Ghana great. In a nation where opportunities are believed to be hijacked by a few well connected individuals, meritocracy has been put on the back burner, it is not surprising that many Ghanaians out there are cynical about politicians.
They are cynical about those of us they have elected and those who have been appointed to key positions in the country.
Mr Speaker, how could the President say his government was putting our people first, when delivery of basic public services is so poor, when people in Koforidua continue to suffer power outages? They know that they are not the first in the scheme of things. When only yesterday, in some parts of Teshie they suffered power outages so frequently that they lost count. Mr Speaker, they are not putting our people first.
When fuel prices are continually rising not because of higher crude oil prices, but because of the cedi depreciation, occasioned by poor economic manage- ment of the country, then he says they are putting people first. Even when people in the city of Accra did not have water for days, how can we then say that we are putting the people of the country first?
I would not even speak on the perception of graft and corruption which is permeating out society. I believe other people would talk about that.
Mr Speaker, on 10th February 2014, the Director of Health Services, Dr Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira, at a media briefing in Sekondi, told the whole country that, retired midwives would soon be recruited to cater for the shortage of midwives at the CHIPS compound. Yet, a few days later, His Excellency the President was waxing lyricals about CHIPS compound staffed with nurses, midwives and other auxiliary health staff. Mr Speaker, a little candour on the part of the President would help us reduce the cynicism of our people.
Mr Speaker, we look forward to following the road map for Free Secondary School Education for day students and reliefs for boarding students which the President promised.
Mr Speaker, it is my prayer that, it is not another NDC political gimmick, like the National Democratic Congress's (NDCs) one time premium on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Something which has now vanished from all NDC rhetorics. Are we surprised then that Ghanaians have become cynical when it comes to this Government and their promises?
Mr Speaker, on the floor of this august House, I delivered a Statement on supporting Ghanaian manufacturing industries. You may check Official Report of 23rd of November, 2010 column 1520 to
I called for the establishment of a fully fledged international trade commission, with the flexibility to apply counter veiling duties in the case of subsidised imports and anti dumping measures where dumping is established.
Also, I called for the application of World Trade Organisation, (WTO) compatible and remedial measures. I also entreated the Ministry of Trade and Industry to provide time lines and a road map to establish the commission. Mr Speaker, after three years, the President comes before this august House and says that, in the course of the year, the Ghana International Trade Commission would be established.
Mr Speaker, Ghanaian industries, especially, the manufacturing industries are collapsing in the face of unfair trade practices and in the face of the deficits that we face in power and water.
Mr Speaker, they cannot wait and after three years we are still deferring. Where is our sense of urgency? Mr Speaker, action is required now.
Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President did not so much talk about the environmental degradation caused by illegal gold miners, but I think this is a matter of great importance for millions of our people whose forests are being depleted, water bodies are being destroyed, whose farms are lost and livelihoods impaired. This did not merit a mention by the President. Yet, it is an area where I believe that we can use gold mining to become a resource gain instead of a resource scarce. This we can do through appropriate legislation.
Mr Speaker, in this connection only last year, Ghana had to deport 4,000 people mainly of Chinese origin. This massive exodus of people did not get a mention in the Presidents' --