“In partnership with the private sector, we will embark on an ambitious but realistic programme of building new roads and bridges; expand electricity generation to energise our economy; increase access to good drinking water and quality healthcare for our growing population; and improve sanitation and human security for all.
“We aim to transform our schools, colleges and universities to meet the demand of a new age with emphasis on technology and innovation,” President Mahama said.
Presenting his first State of the Nation Address to law-makers, President Mahama outlined four pillars to anchor the state which are captured under theme “Advancing the Better Ghana-Opportunities for Growth”.
Pillar-one focuses on Putting People First, which is the thrust of his party’s social policy and human development programme that revolves around education, healthcare, social security and protection for the vulnerable -- women, children, the aged and people with disabilities.
The thematic areas are quality education; health for all; social protection; youth and sports development; and the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA).
Pillar-two will be executed based on a strong and resilient economy -- on thematic areas of prudently facing the fiscal challenges; adopting corrective measures; partnership with the private sector; accelerating agricultural modernisation for job-creation and working toward achieving sustainable production of the historic one-million-tonnes of cocoa.
Another area under pillar-two is using tourism as an instrument for fully-realising the economic potential of culture and creative arts.
Pillar-three will focus on expanding infrastructure with the use of information technology to support infrastructure development, urban renewal, land use management and environmental protection, the roads and transport sector, revamping and modernising the railway sector, and housing and urban renewal.
The rest are substantial reform to ensure that Ghana moves toward an economically and socially sustainable mining sector; and ensure reliable, stable and progressively cheap power for economic development in the country and the wider West African region.
Pillar-four is based on transparent and accountable governance with the provision of support to the Electoral Commission to carry out its programmes and reforms; strengthening the role of traditional institutions, strengthening Parliament.
“We believe that our people are our most treasured assets; we will also ensure that the most vulnerable people in our society are protected,” President Mahama indicated.
He added: “Our people need decent and sustainable jobs to lead meaningful lives. Job-creation and gainful employment, therefore, will be at the core of my priorities.
“I am determined to expand opportunities for all. Our policies and initiatives will be geared toward facilitating sustainable employment generation, which will then facilitate economic growth and enhanced incomes.”
He said that Ghanaians deserve to live in a country with improved infrastructure, which is inextricably linked to enhancing the quality of life.
He said the viability of private sector investments hinges on a robust and functional infrastructure of the roads, rail, sufficient and efficient energy, stable water supply, and a seamless communalisations and ICT infrastructure.
Government will use information technology to support infrastructure development, urban renewal, land use management, and environmental protection.
Government will continue with the positive outlook and promote the rapid development of the broad.
“We are determined to deliver on the development goals which we have outlined. We have objectives to meet and the expectations of people to fulfil; our people expect to see results, whether it is in the delivery of water, electricity, healthcare or sanitation services. We must not overlook the little things that matter to our people even as we stress on responsible citizenship as an important factor in nation-building,” he remarked.
Energy crisis gives Mahama nightmares
On the supply of electricity, the President said millions of Ghanaians and businesses are “today experiencing very erratic and frustrating electricity supply.
“It is a situation that I am deeply concerned about and in which I have devoted considerable energy to solving. This is especially urgent because compounding the problem of unstable power supply is an equally worrying issue of unreliable water supply to some communities,” he said.
The current developments do not reflect the investments and progress Ghana has been making in the area of electricity generation: “Government’s overall objective for the energy sector is to ensure reliable, stable and progressively cheap power for economic development in the country and the wider West African region,” he said.
“What should be our successes and rather augment available generation capacity has unfortunately been undermined by a number of unforeseen developments.
“We are expecting the addition of over-500 MW of installed generation capacity this year. 132MW from the Takoradi 3 Thermal Plant by end of March; 130 MW from the Bui Hydroelectric Power Project by end of April; and increased to 400MW by end of September; and 2 MW from a Solar Park at Navrongo by end of February.”
He said work has also started on a 161 kV Tumu-Han-Wa transmission line in the Upper West Region. Other projects are the Kpando-Kadjebi Transmission Project and a new 330KV transmission line from Aboadze–Prestea-Kumasi- Tamale- Bolgatanga among others.
He said gas from the Western Region provides enough flexibilities and cost-efficient ways of additional power generation. To this end, work is progressing steadily on the Gas Infrastructure Project at Atuabo in the Elemebelle District.
“When completed by the end of the second quarter of 2013, it will help expand the system to achieve the planned 5,000MW capacity of power generation by 2016,” he said.
President Mahama said “Government during the year will continue to support the utility companies carry out distribution system improvement projects and increase electricity access to all parts of the country under the ‘Energy for All’ programme to ensure universal access by 2016.”