President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will tomorrow fulfill the constitutional duty of addressing Ghanaians on the state of the nation before the elected representatives of the people in Parliament House in Accra.
It will be the President’s fourth presentation since he assumed the reins of power on January 7, 2017.
The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is expected to cover, in broad terms, areas such as the economy, education, health, security and infrastructure.
Also expected to feature prominently is the banking sector clean-up and how his government is approaching the issue of providing depositors whose money was locked up with some insolvent banks and microfinance institutions access to their funds in part or full.
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.”
The SONA, which always captures media and national attention because it addresses national topical subjects, offers Presidents a significant platform to present their achievements, as well as issues in sectors to be tackled in due course.
With 2020 being an election year, President Akufo-Addo is expected to dwell extensively on the forthcoming electioneering and elections and assure Ghanaians and the international community of how he intends to ensure free, fair and credible elections in a peaceful environment.
The Daily Graphic is of the strong conviction that some of the major occurrences in 2019 will not escape the radar of the President, including the banking sector reforms, the aborted referendum to amend the Constitution, the Vigilantism Act and related matters.
The activities of the secessionist group that border on the unity of the state and the hullabaloo over illegal mining and its attendant problems, vis-à-vis his fight against the canker to save the environment and water bodies, will occupy some of the paragraphs in his speech.
It will not be out of place for President Akufo-Addo to tout the macroeconomic stability achieved by his administration, ranging from the reduction in inflation, diminishing interest rates, the rise in international reserves and the positive upgrade of Ghana’s credit rating.
The recent retooling of the security agencies, especially the military and the police, to make them ready to secure lives, properties and the territorial integrity of the country, particularly during an election year, is also expected to receive ample attention.
The readiness of the security agencies to ward off any attacks from Islamic fundamentalists who have been wreaking havoc in neighbouring countries is also expected to receive some attention.
Infrastructural expansion in the educational sector, the provision of teaching and learning materials and the metal beds being supplied to most senior high schools to end the double-track system are also expected to receive Presidential mention, and possibly some of the schools too. He may also explain the efforts and measures instituted to phase out the contingency measure.
Year of Return
The Daily Graphic believes that President Akufo-Addo’s address will also highlight the high points of the successful Year of Return initiative, which attracted thousands of Africans in the Diaspora and friends of African descent into the country. As a follow up, the government has launched the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative to tap into and reap the benefits of the return.
It is expected that, like last year’s SONA, this year’s will be devoid of the display of placards used by opposition MPs to sum up the President’s address, amidst boos and jeers from them.
Being his last address in the august House to end his first term in office, in anticipation of his second term, President Akufo-Addo is expected to project into the future beyond Election 2020.