President Nana Addo Danwkwa Akufo-Addo has given the assurance that his government remains committed and resolute in its vision to restore macroeconomic stability, and further promote inclusive growth.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament yesterday, he observed that sustained growth must be intentional, particularly in a global context dominated by forces of technology, commerce and severe competition.
In his view, it also requires a combination of leadership, social cohesion, and deep investments in the core capabilities of people, firms and institutions to harness opportunities.
Admitting how he swiftly wants to get things done, President Akufo-Addo said: “I have been in a hurry to get things done, and this includes massive developments in agriculture, education, health, irrigation, roads, rails, ports, airports, sea defence, digitisation, social protection programmes, industrialisation and tourism.”
“We can be justifiably proud of the many things we have managed to do in the past six years. As I go around the country, I hear the pleas for roads, schools, hospitals, and, as the rainy season comes, I wish, as every other Ghanaian does, that we would have built more drains than we have. And I wish we had the resources to do more,” he stated.
Additionally, he pointed out that government’s spending had been channelled into urgent needs of the country such as roads and schools.
“Let me state emphatically that we have not been reckless in borrowing and in spending. It is worth noting that the debts we are servicing were not only contracted during the period of this administration,” he said.
“We have spent money on urgent things, to build roads and bridges and schools, to train our young people and equip them to face a competitive world. Considering the amount of work that still needs to be done on the state of our roads, the bridges that have to be built, considering the number of classrooms that need to be built, the furniture and equipment needs at all stages of education, considering the number of children who should be in school and are not, considering the number of towns and villages that still do not have access to potable water, I daresay no one can suggest we have over-borrowed or spent recklessly,” he added.
Calling for sacrifice from all stakeholders, he also stated: “This is why together with our private sector counterparts, we are anchoring Ghana’s medium-term growth drivers on competitiveness, integration, adaptation and digital innovation, all aimed at raising per capita GDP from the current $2,500 to $4,500 (aligning with the Ghana Beyond Aid Charter) by 2030.”
On the $3 billion facility Ghana is seeking from the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), the President explained that while the arrangements would not restore the country’s fortunes overnight, it would be enough to set it on the road to recovery.
“With fiscal discipline, we will regain the trust and confidence of our business partners and the investor community, which will give us space to continue our productive plans and policies,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo further told the House that other innovative ideas such as the Gold for Oil policy (G40) were already bearing fruit.
“These policies are aimed at achieving two results that are critical to the health of our economy. Firstly, they will help us preserve foreign exchange, especially the US dollar, and secondly, they will enable us to stabilise the price of oil products such as petrol and diesel on the domestic market. We have already seen some success on both fronts with the price of US dollars and petroleum products falling since we announced the policy and began to implement it,” he said.
Stabilising fuel prices
The President expressed satisfaction at the gradual fall in the price of petrol at the pump, which was GHC20 a litre in the middle of December 2022, but now GHC13.80 pesewas a litre.
The price of diesel had risen to more than GHC23.70 a litre, but is now selling on average at GHC13.80 a litre representing almost GHC10 less per litre.
“We expect this trend of falling fuel prices to reflect soon in our daily lives since transport fares affect the price of everything. I hope the trend of prices going up and coming down becomes a regular feature of our retail economy as is being demonstrated in the fuel prices. Because, as we all know, prices, especially of petroleum products, used only to go up in our country,” he said.
Furthermore, President Akufo-Addo pointed out that the country has no choice but to spend resources to keep its borders safe, following the threats of terrorism and violent extremism surrounding Ghana.
“The threats of terrorism and violent extremism surrounding us require that we pay maximum attention to protecting our borders, and working in collaboration with our neighbours to keep our country and the Region safe. This is the prime motive for the Accra Initiative, which is already yielding results,” he said.
Mentioning some logistics provided for the security apparatus, he said “the Army has received 104 armoured personnel carriers; 70 utility troop carrying vehicles; 20 armoured vehicles; 85 assorted Toyota vehicles; 50 Ankai buses; 40 Jeep J8 vehicles; some Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) equipment.”