In accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, President John Evans Atta Mills is billed to appear in Parliament on February 17, 2011, to deliver the State of the Nation Address.

President John Evans Atta Mills is expected to deliver his State of the Nation Add

Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution states: “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.”

 

Although the content of the President’s message is not known, however, after failing to fulfill numerous promises made in the 2010 Sessional Address, one would be tempted to believe that the President would, this time, be circumspect in the kind of promises he makes, as the ruling party is almost close to another election in 2012.

Members of Parliament Constituency Fund promise

The President has thrown a lot of promises which can be evidenced in his last two sesssional addresses. In 2009, President Evans Atta Mills, after taking over the mantle of the country’s leadership from then President John Agyekum Kufuor, in his State of the Nation’s Address to Parliament, promised to establish a ‘Members of Parliament Constituency Fund’ for the 230 Members of Parliament (MPs). He promised to accomplish the feat in the same year, to which the MPs expressed joy.

The aim of the fund, according to the President, was to foster development projects at the constituency level, aside that of the District Assemblies Common Fund. However, two years down the line, nothing concrete has been heard of this initiative.

In the previous year’s (2010) State of the Nation’s address, dubbed ‘Partners in Vision’, President Mills admitted to his inability to fulfill his promise to the MPs. “I am conscious that I made this promise in my State of the Nation address last year, but could not implement it,” he noted, during his 2010 State of the Nation address.

His comments attracted a lot of murmurings on the floor of the House, and it came from the generality of the MPs. Perhaps, it was a sign of their silent protestations to the President.

A member from the minority side, who could not hold his frustration, retorted in the local language, “wa pro-mi-se saa, nanso yen huh wee,” literally meaning ‘you have made numerous promises, but we have not seen anything.’

However, President Mills, in a swift response to the MP, having identified the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Tafo, Anthony Akoto Osei, in a tete-at-tete with another colleague on the minority side, decided to biblically admonish him by saying; “Madam Speaker, when I approached this subject, I thought I could heard my younger brother, Akoto Osei, saying ‘here we go again.’ My brother Akoto, have you forgotten that in the past, you used to say that when Man proposes, God disposes?”

The President’s pronouncement was cheered by the MPs. However, determined to make a mark under his ‘Better Ghana’ agenda, President Mills promised to deliver on his promise by the end of 2010, saying, “This time around, God will dispose, and you have my assurance that it will be implemented,” to the joyof the MPs, who responded, “hear, hear.”

According to him, the program would first begin in the constituencies farthest away from the national capital, and would then proceed progressively, until all the 230 constituencies are covered.

He therefore, tasked all the MPs to lend their support, by beginning to look for land for the project in their respective constituencies.

But my checks from all the constituencies reveal that the much-talked about initiative by the President was still a fantasy, at least for now.

Many MPs this paper spoke to, said acquiring land was not a problem, but the ability to implement the programme rather rests on the shoulders of the President.

So, on Thursday, February 17, what message is the President going to give the MPs when he appears in Parliament to deliver the 2011 State of the Nation’s address?

Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA)
Another Achilles’ heel is the promise made to the three northern regions (Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions) and some parts of the Brong Ahafo Region, under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).

President Mills had promised to allocate GH¢200 million as seed money to SADA, after which GH¢100 million would be released to the authority every year, for the development of the aforementioned three regions.

However, with Parliament having approved the SADA, and given it the needed legal impetus to function, only GH¢25 million has been released to the authority to begin its operations, after the GH¢200 million seed money was promised.

The Chronicle would also be curious to know whether the President would find a way of addressing the almost loud political tension in the country, with unguarded political statements being thrown about by the two leading political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and NPP.

With recent hikes in petroleum prices, coupled with higher tariffs and taxes, Ghanaians would be looking to the President for hope, especially, as he has declared this year to be an “Action Year.”

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