President Akufo-Addo with the Emir of Kano, and members of the planning committee of the Nigerian Bar Association
President Akufo-Addo says in order for the African continent to meet the aspirations of the people and create opportunities for all, priority must be given to key institutions of state.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “We must prioritise our budgetary arrangements to ensure that funds are available to strengthen key institutions of state, such as the Legislature, Judiciary, fiscal institutions, among others.”
In the case of Ghana, the President indicated that since he came into office, budgetary allocation to Parliament has been increased by 82 percent using 2016 as the base year.
The Judiciary, within the same period, has also seen its budget increased by 47 per cent.
“It is important that we promote and develop a culture of accountable governance, free of corruption, whereby these bodies see themselves as independent public entities serving the wider public interest, not the temporary conveniences of the governments of the day,” he said.
He continued, “That is why we have added to our architecture of accountability the Office of Special Prosecutor to hold public officials, past and present, accountable for their stewardship of the public purse.
“A well-known anti-corruption crusader and lawyer, indeed, a leading figure of the current opposition in Ghana, is the first occupant of this Office, from whom the Ghanaian people have much expectation in the fight against corruption.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 27th August, 2018 when he delivered the keynote address at the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja, Nigeria.
Describing the Judiciary as one whose independence is to be guaranteed, the President explained that in Ghana, the independence of the Judiciary is critical because of its constitutional jurisdiction; the reason why appointments to Ghana’s Supreme Court, for example, come from different perspectives.
“As Attorney General, from 2001 to 2003, under the government of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, I had the honour of nominating for appointment onto Ghana’s Supreme Court, distinguished jurists and academics such as Professor Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, the late Professor Tawia Modibo Ocran and the late Professor A.K.P Kludze, three judges whose works made such a significant impact on the growth of the court’s constitutional jurisprudence,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “I have continued in this tradition, as President, by nominating the immediate-past President of the Ghana Bar Association, Nene Amegatcher, the former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey, and two respected Court of Appeals Judges as my first nominees to the Supreme Court.”
This blend of persons on the Supreme Court, he said, “in my view will strengthen the development of Ghana’s jurisprudence.”
The President urged Nigeria to give its assent to the Continental Free Trade Area, Africa’s single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “Nigeria, with her dynamic population, sense of enterprise of her people, and the size of her economy, is an automatic leader of any regional or continental market. She has nothing to be afraid of, but on the contrary should be the major beneficiary of any such market.”
The President noted that Africa’s small countries will continue to struggle if they go it alone.
The accelerated economic integration of committed nations, he said, will breathe new life into the African Union, and deliver the benefits of African integration to the doorsteps of the African peoples.
“Hence, the critical importance of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which has been signed by a majority of countries on the continent, but ratified only by a handful, including Ghana. It’s imperative that the 22-minimum number of country ratifications required to bring it into effect, be met as soon as possible,” he added.
A major deficit of our economic development, President Akufo-Addo explained, has been the low level of intra-Africa trade that has characterized the performance of African economies up to date.
“I believe it’s extremely important for the welfare of the 1.2 billion people of the continent that we, the leaders, demonstrate strong political will to operationalize the African Common Market. It’s my fervent hope that Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, will very soon assent to this agreement,” he said.