President Mahama delivers state of the Nation Address.
President John Mahama was welcomed to the House by the Speaker of Parliament as he entered to deliver his third state of the nation address as the Constitution demands in Article 67.
The President said the country was confronted with many hills and one of such is the power crisis the country was facing. He expressed concern about the severe effects of the energy shortfall and businesses and industries.
He said that this situation has occurred in many times in the country's history.
Unlike in the past when the problem was managed, President Mahama says “I will fix the energy challenge”.
One of the reasons why we are where we are is access to electricity in Ghana is part of the problem. Ghana runs second only to South Africa in terms of access to electricity.to the power grid.
By 2016 there will be the addition of 3,665 megawatts to the power grid. He names the units including Asogli. We are now shifting from Hydro to thermal power.
President Mahama said the government's plan which is on course to bring in emergency power plants. These plants will bring in additional 1,000 megawatts of power.
He said he will hold the Power Minister accountable on his promise to end the power crisis by the end of the year.
The President said government will increase Ghana's supply to about 300million standard cubic feet meters per day.
The President announced plans were on course to make solar available for small-scale businesses and also make it available for residential apartments who wish to have it. He says over 200,000 rooftop solar panels will be installed as part of the project.
The President also added that the Energy Commission's call for a positive attitude towards energy conservation. The President said saving energy was also important for the country.
A re-sit policy at the basic level has been introduced. A total of 1181 candidates had the chance to re-sit their exams this year.
These are people who otherwise would have had their education truncated. Alexander Dobaye an over 40 year old person took part in the exams.
There will be 10,000 made in Ghana sandals distributed to pupils. 5,000 uniforms, 15million exercise books. 30,000 PCs will be distributed. Enrolment has increased as a result of a direct intervention by government.
A bill has been presented to parliament for the establishment of a University in the Eastern Region.
He noted that work on the conversion of polytechnics into technical university status was on course.
Mr Speaker Another fifteen polyclinics will commence this year. Work is at various stages of completion on 13 district hospitals to bring health services closer to our people.
We will spend GHc3billion in the health sector. We've made significant progress in our fight against HIV/AIDS. Over ten thousand senior citizens are being provided free NHIS subscription in the Greater Accra, Central and Eastern regions. Medical Stores Fire at Tema cost the country GHC 353 million.
This year 150,000 household will benefit from the LEAP program. 62 orphanages whose operations fell below acceptable standards have been closed down, 800 orphans rescue.
Government will focus on sports, not only football. This is to enable us to get more medals at int'l sporting events. We can win more international medals in lesser known sports if we develop them. Martha will be afforded an opportunity to join other young athletes on scholarship in US Colleges where she can develop her talent.
The Black Stars gathered themselves together, rose from the ashes of Brazil 2014 and proved themselves at Afcon 2015 in Equatorial Guinea.
We've achieved a 30% drop in Poultry imports. He says Ghana should be reducing the importation of sugar by 80% in the next few years. A new sugar factory is under construction in Komenda, Central Region. Local production of rice has increased by 60%. The import bill on rice reduced by 40%.
I wish to commend the members of the Presidential Advisory Group on the economy. We have come this far because of the very fruitful economic consultations that came out of the Senchi Forum.
I expect a positive outcome this afternoon from the IMF team which is in Ghana. Aggressive work is ongoing to clean the public sector payroll. President Mahama noted that manufacturing has been identified as a major area where critical attention is needed.
Gov't aims to reduce the importation of fish by 20% according President Mahama.
The commissioning of the Kpong Water Treatment plant was the best Christmas gift I could have given the beneficiaries. Water is a basic necessity of life but many don't have access to it.
We've spent over 1.1 billion on construction of new water systems. We have set in motion the processes to meet future demand of water in terms of population growth. Several water supply projects have been completed. We are working on more.
Estimated housing deficit in Ghana is 1.7Million. We're developing a national housing policy to consolidate the gains we've made in the housing sector.
We're undertaking the largest road project in the history of Ghana which starts this year & ends in 2019. No effort is being spared to fix our country's roads. 20km roads will be asphalted in the Sekondi Takoradi. Single largest road project to receive over GHC 1 billion to be completed in 2019 under my second term in office.
The Kwame Nkrumah interchange is changing the landscape of Accra. Accra - Tema Motorway will be converted into a 6 lane high way with interchanges this year.
In Ashanti region, Sofoline will be completed in Kumasi. 40 percent of Kumasi town roads will be completed. Under the Cocoa Roads Project, a number of feeder, urban and highway roads are earmarked for construction. We're working on many road projects to open up the country to reduce road traffic accidents and bring foodstuffs to the market centres.
Last year, over 40,000 flights were recorded at our airports. Government was concerned about congestion at the Kotoka Airport, noting that the arrival hall expansion project at the Kotoka International Airport will be concluded this year.
Ongoing expansion works on the Tamale Airport, as well as the completion of renovation works at the Kumasi Airport. He ssaid pahase two of the Kumasi Airport will see a new terminal under construction.
The reconstruction of some rail-lines to help reduce road congestion in Accra and Kumasi. He noted that the Ghana Railways Company was going to acquire some air-conditioned coaches for use once the rail lines were fixed.
We remain committed to a free and independent Judiciary and we continue to support measures aimed at ensuring efficient admin. of justice. Ghana is bleeding from various acts of mismanagement. We must come against all acts of corruption.
I congratulate Parliament for the manner you went about your work and for your collaboration with the executive in exercising oversight. Corruption is a canker that's eating us away. Let me on behalf of the people of Ghana express our respect for the dedication to work shown by Dr. Afari Djan.
Terrorism and Security
Ghana stands with Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram. We shall work together with our partners in the ECOWAS region to ensure security.
There's been an increase from 23,000 to over 30,000 personnel in the police service. We now have 1 police to 724 civilians.
We will continue the programme of retooling and reequipping the armed forces with the appropriate instruments and platforms.
There has been a drop in crime activity by about 5,000 cases between 2013 - 2014. We can still do more. Safety and security are key in my transformation agenda. It's wrong under our constitution to compel Muslim students to go to church, or for Christian students to go to the mosque. Safety and security are key planks in my agenda for transformation and will continue to receive my utmost attention.