President Akufo-Addo being welcomed to the meeting
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed that all the campaign promises he and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) made to Ghanaians prior to the December 7, 2016 general election would be fulfilled.
According to him, over the 11 months that his government has been in office, “We have proven that they were not mere rhetoric or campaign talks, and neither were they meant to deceive the people of Ghana into voting for us, nor to score cheap political points.”
The president stated that the campaign pledges were made because “We believe they represent effective vehicles for the rapid development of our country. By all accounts, the fulfilment of these pledges is being felt in all parts of our country, and in your respective jurisdictions.”
President Akufo-Addo made these assertions on Monday when he addressed a meeting of the National House of Chiefs in Kumasim the Ashanti Regional capital.
President Akufo-Addo told the paramount chiefs and the queen mothers that his government had been working on the fundamentals of the economy and open up opportunities for all citizens.
This, he said, had resulted in the growing stability of the macro-economy and the cedi, as government had moved quickly to restore fiscal discipline by presenting a fiscal statement – the ‘Asempa’ Budget – that would bring down the deficit from 9.4% in 2016 to 6.3% by the end of this year (2017).
“The economy has responded positively to this; interest rates on the money markets have declined; the exchange rate is more stable; inflation, which stood at 15.4% in December 2016, is on the decline, and, in September 2017, stood at 12.2%; and economic growth picked up in the first half of the year and is projected to end at 7.6%, up from the 3.6% we inherited, which was the lowest in over 20 years,” he underscored.
The benchmark 91-day Treasury Bill (T-bill) rate, which was 22.8 percent in January last year, has plummeted to 13.2% percent in October 2017.
An improved macro-economy, the president added, is a fundamental requirement for stimulating the investments needed for the significant expansion and growth of the national economy, and the generation of wealth and jobs.
President Akufo-Addo added that the implementation of the ‘Free SHS’ policy has guaranteed a minimum of secondary education for all of Ghana’s children., with the judicious application of the country’s resources to revive the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He noted that the abolition of a number of nuisance taxes which were stifling the growth of the private sector and the creation of jobs, and the introduction of a number of policies aimed at formalising the structure of the Ghanaian economy – such as the National Identification Card, the National Digital Property Addressing System, the e-registration system to enhance business registration processes, the paperless system at the Tema port – have all been implemented.
On the creation of jobs, the president said that he was well aware that the success or otherwise of his administration would be judged largely by job creation.
President Akufo-Addo said it is for this reason that his government has outlined a number of policies such as the ‘Planting for food and jobs’ programme, 1 District, 1 Factory, the National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan (NEIP), the reintroduction of the mass cocoa spraying exercise and re-aforestation amongst others, to help create jobs for the youth.
“The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) is poised to employ some 60,000 youth. Extension officers, health professionals and teachers are now being employed again to provide much-needed support for our agricultural, health and education sectors,” he added.
Turning to the chiefs, President Akufo-Addo posited, “The allowances for paramount chiefs and queen mothers of the national and regional houses of chiefs have been increased by 100%, and payments by government are up-to-date. As I speak, the 4th quarter allowances are being processed. Quarterly budgetary support to traditional councils and houses of chiefs has also been increased by nearly 60%,” he added.