President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday set out his maiden State of Nation of Address as an elected President on theme: “Advancing the Better Ghana-Opportunities for Growth,” for the next year.
President Mahama addressing the sixth Parliament of the fourth Republic said the focus of his government for the next year is to ensure that Ghana witnessed impressive socio-economic developments in the last two decades.
“In my first term as President, I will focus on delivering on the following, which constitute the vital pillars underpinning our national development programme.
“Putting people first, a strong and resilient economy, expanding infrastructure, and transparent and accountable governance,” he said.
The President said as a social democratic party, the NDC would put people first. “We believe that our people are our most treasured asset and this is what informs our social development agenda.
“The thrust of our social policy and human development programme revolves around education, healthcare, social security and protection for the vulnerable– women, children, the aged and people with disabilities.
“We will focus on and emphasize the productive and reproductive capabilities of these social groupings, while ensuring at the same time that the most vulnerable in our society are effectively protected,” he said.
President Mahama said the quest to build an equitable society in which the productive capacities of the people are tapped for national development would come to naught if “we do not give our children sound, meaningful and relevant education.”
On health, the President said the government would undertake the construction of an ultra-modern, 600-bed teaching hospital for the University of Ghana.
The government would also start the processes for the establishment of regional hospitals in the Eastern and Upper East regions and work would continue on the Regional hospital project at Wa.
The Central and Volta Regional hospitals would be upgraded into teaching hospitals to expand the scope for training medical doctors and other healthcare specialists.
Work will also start on six District Hospitals at Dodowa, Abetifi, Fomena, Garu, Kumawu, and Sekondi. The refurbishment of the Takoradi European hospital will commence in earnest.
Work will start on Phase One of the Specialist Emergency Centre at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital as well as an additional 1,600 CHIPS compounds across the country by the end of 2016.
President Mahama said as the nation forges ahead in social development and economic transformation, it was important to be “mindful of our fellow citizens who, for reasons of social and economic circumstances have become vulnerable and marginalized. “
“Our social protection programme is two-pronged. We will design programmes to protect those who require permanent protection and empower through training and activation those who can be reintegrated into the labour market.”
“In pursuit of this agenda, I have tasked the new Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to initiate a process to track, monitor, assist and address the diverse needs of the vulnerable in Ghana,” he said.
On Sports he said the government will provide incentives for Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies to establish at least one well-resourced sports and athletic infrastructure.
Inter-school and colleges sports competition programs will be reinvigorated and 5 per cent of admissions to senior high schools would be reserved for talented sports and other creative students among other interventions
President Mahama said the Cape Coast Stadium would be completed as well as restructuring and re-orientation of the National Sports Authority to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness in the discharge of its mandate.
On the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) President Mahama said it would benefit tens of thousands of poor women in the savannah zone of this country. GNA