Mr Speaker,

I am happy to be here again in this august House, a place where I have experienced some of the most memorable moments of my political career, and made some cherished friendships across the political divide. I am glad too that, in accordance with protocol and convention, First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Second Lady Samira Bawumia, Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, and the Justices of the Supreme Court, Chairperson Nana Otuo Siriboe II, and Members of the Council of State, Chief of Defence Staff Lt. Gen O.B. Akwa, Inspector General of Police David Asante Apeatu, and the Service Chiefs, are all present. Mr. Speaker, the House is duly honoured by the welcome attendance of the former Presidents of the Republic, their Excellencies Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama, His Excellency the former Vice President of the Republic, Paa Kwasi Amissah-Arthur, and former First Lady, Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.

A year ago, I came as our newly-elected President into a House, where everybody was trying to get used to new positions. There was a large number of fresh entrants, trying to find their feet as the new honourable members. There were the hitherto Minority members, trying to get used to being members of the Majority, and, then, there were the former members of the Majority, trying to get used to their new role as members of the Minority. The House had a new Speaker, who was beginning to fit seamlessly into his new role.

A year later, we can safely say that none of us now turns round in surprise, when addressed by our new titles. We are all used to the reality, made possible by the expression of the free will of the Ghanaian people on December 7, 2016.

Mr Speaker, at the beginning of each session of Parliament, the President has a duty to come to this House, as I have done today, to satisfy the constitutional requirement of delivering to Parliament a Message on the State of the Nation, that is to report on how our nation is faring after this year of change, and to share the prospects we can look forward to in the year ahead.

I would like to start by expressing my sincere gratitude to the House. When I told you I was in a hurry, you promptly rose to the challenge. You assisted me to appoint my excellent team of ministers, and constitute the government, in record time. I understand that, since the inception of the 4th Republic, this, the 7th,… More