President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to present the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament tomorrow, Wednesday March 30, 2022.
This was announced in a statement issued yesterday by the Director of Public Affairs for Parliament, Kate Addo. She noted that the exercise is in fulfilment of a constitutional provision in Article 67, which provides that “the President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver to Parliament, a message on the State of the Nation.”
“The event will be held at the Chamber of Parliament at 10:00 am prompt. The address will help set out the government’s policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead,” part of the statement read.
President Akufo-Addo is expected to use the opportunity to highlight the achievements of his government, touch on the challenges confronting the economy and measures to tackle them, as well as outline developmental measures for the financial year.
This sessional address, which was originally scheduled to be delivered on March 3, was postponed. The postponement led to criticisms from members of the Minority Caucus, who claimed the delay had stalled stakeholder engagements on some key bills, including the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill.
But, according to the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, President Akufo-Addo cannot be blamed for the delay in presenting the SONA. He noted that it was the duty of the Speaker of Parliament and leadership in the House to agree on a date and communicate same to the President.
“That agreement had not been reached for it to be communicated to the President,” he said on the floor of the House on Friday March 18.
Mr Kwame Agbodza, Member of Parliament for Adaklu, had described the delay as unprecedented in the history of the Fourth Republic. “This is an unprecedented territory. We have never seen a president who is unable to tell us the state of the nation this long. We think that we need a definite date,” he said.
In response, Mr Afenyo-Markin, who is also the lawmaker for Effutu said: “On the statement by Honorable Kwame Agbodza to the effect that Mr President had delayed in coming, at the risk of being repetitive, and for emphasis, it isn’t Mr President who has delayed in coming.
“It is the duty of the Speaker and leadership to agree on a date and communicate same to Mr President. That is what is pending, and so don’t say that Mr President has delayed,” he added.
In a related development, President Akufo-Addo will today, March 29, commission the Tamale Interchange Project. This was disclosed in an announcement from the presidency yesterday.
The $48 million project is expected to ease vehicular traffic in the central business area of Tamale.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako-Atta, earlier this year indicated works on the interchange would be completed in March for commissioning.
The Northern Region is benefiting from the $2 billion loan and a grant from the Chinese government under the Sinohydro deal.
In April 2019, President Akufo-Addo, with support of the King of Dagbon, Ndan Ya-Na Abukari II, cut sod for the commencement of the first ever interchange project in the northern part of the country.
The project is one of the promises of the Akufo-Addo government under the Master Project Support Agreement between the Government of Ghana (GOG) and the $2 billion Sinohydro Corporation Company of China.
The Tamale interchange is about one kilometre long, and links the Kumasi road through the Point 7 road, the Central Taxi Rank, Central Market intersection with the Melcom road and Bolgatanga road.
Kumasi Inner City roads
Meanwhile, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia over the weekend cut sod for work to commence on the Kumasi Inner City Roads Project.
Speaking at a short ceremony, Dr Bawumia disclosed that the project would include upgrading of 100 kilometres of road network within Kumasi, Kwadaso, Bantama, Suame, Tafo-Pankrono, Asokwa, Oforikrom, Subin, Nhyiaeso, Manhyia, Asante-Mampong, Effiduase and Asokore.
According to him, the Akufo-Addo government is poised at breaking infrastructural barriers, stressing “this is an indication of government’s resolve to expand the country’s road infrastructure as well as bring it to appreciable standards”.
“We are delivering on our campaign promises to make life comfortable for the citizenry. It is our belief and hope that the construction of roads such as these would help reduce the travel times within the Greater Kumasi area and help businesses to thrive smoothly,” he said.
The Vice-President also recounted that the last four years had seen a greater percentage of work done on rehabilitation of roads across the country.
He therefore urged the people to keep faith alive in the government as it works to meet their development expectations.
The Kumasi Inner City Roads Project is part of the Master Project Support Agreement (MPSA) between the Governments of Ghana and China, through the Sino Hydro Corporation.
It is therefore one of the 10 Lots under the first phase of the MPSA, which involves the construction of two interchanges and construction/rehabilitation of 441 kilometres of road network and expected to be completed within 30 months.