I’ll not complain but fix challenges of economy – Prez Akufo-Addo

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday used his maiden State of the Nation Address to give the clearest indication yet about how he intended to deal with the challenges facing the economy when he declared: “l will not complain but fix the challenges.”
After giving an account of the state of the economy, which he said was in a bad way, the President said he was not elected by the overwhelming majority of the people to complain.

Rather, he said, he was elected to get things done, adding: “l was elected to fix what is broken and my government and l are determined to do just that.”

Cataloguing some of the policy options under the sleeve of his government to fix the key challenges of the economy, President Akufo-Addo said the starting point to turn around the fortunes of the country was agriculture, which would focus on a national campaign dubbed: “Planting for food and jobs”.

Job creation

Wearing a black suit over a white shirt with a white tie to match, the President said along with agriculture, the government intended to address the biggest challenge of unemployment.

He said the government was embarking on one of the most comprehensive programmes for industrial transformation ever to be introduced in the country.

The key elements of that programme, he said, were the restoration and maintenance of a stable macro-economy, monetary and fiscal measures that would lead to a reduction in interest rates and a reduction in the tax burden on enterprises, the provision of reliable, affordable power for enterprises and homes, as well as the setting up of a stimulus package to support existing Ghanaian industries and improve their competitiveness.

Others include the implementation of the initiative to establish at least one industrial enterprise in each of the 216 districts under the government’s one-district, one-factory policy through public-private partnerships, the development of strategic anchor initiatives as new pillars of growth for the Ghanaian economy, including the establishment of petrochemical industries, an iron and steel industry, an integrated aluminium industry, the expansion of the domestic production of pharmaceuticals, the establishment of a vehicle assembly and automotive industry, the production of industrial salt, the establishment of garment and textile enterprises and the manufacture of machinery, equipment and component parts.

Also, there would be the establishment of a multi-purpose industrial park in each of the 10 regions, the implementation of a comprehensive programme for small-and-medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) development, the establishment of an industrial sub-contracting exchange to link large-scale companies with SMEs and the implementation of an aggressive programme for export development, targeting, primarily, regional and continental markets

The President also mentioned the enhancement of the domestic retail market infrastructure and the active promotion of the marketing and distribution of domestically produced goods, in addition to an improvement in the business environment through regulatory and other reforms, and the establishment of a permanent consultative forum for public-private sector dialogue.

He was confident that through those interventions, significant job opportunities would be opened to Ghanaians across the country.


On energy, which had dogged the industrial sector for some time, President Akufo-Addo said the government would improve on transparency in tariff setting and introduce a new tariff policy that would reclassify consumer categories to protect lifeline and strategic industrial consumers.

“We will also reduce significantly some of the levies and taxes on the tariffs,” he said.

For long-term financing of the operations of the Volta River Authority (VRA) and GRIDCo, he said the government had begun a process to develop a national electricity master plan which would explore the benefits of listing the two entities on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Additionally, he said, the government would encourage increased private sector investment in utility scale solar and wind energy projects, as well as accelerate the development of mini-grid solutions in off-grid and island communities for lighting, irrigation and other economic activities.

Consequently, he said, the Renewable Energy Act would be reviewed to provide further incentives to attract the private sector to invest in the energy sector.

He said as of the end of 2016, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had signed 43 power purchase agreements (PPA), while a further 23 were under discussion.

The government, he said, was conducting a review of all the public-private sector agreements entered into by the previous government in order to prioritise, renegotiate, defer or cancel outright, if necessary, in the national interest.

National Health Insurance Scheme

The success of the country’s plans and programs, the President said, was contingent on a healthy populace, adding that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) remained the best option to ensure that as many people as possible had access to health care in clinics and hospitals.

He said the scheme was not in a good shape, and that there were too many providers who were owed money and were threatening to opt out and stop offering their services to the most vulnerable in society.

“We shall restore the NHIS to good health, and yes, the Minister for Finance will restore the allowances to trainee nurses in the budget,” he said to wild cheers from the Majority side.

Affirmative Action Bill & Disability Act

On the Affirmative Action Bill and the Disability Act, he said the government would work with Parliament to pass the bill to increase women’s involvement in decision making at all levels and enable the government to achieve its objective of 30 per cent participation of women in public appointments.

Peace and security

The people, he said, could only prosper and flourish in an atmosphere of peace and security, adding that safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation was critical for national progress.

He pledged to improve the state of combat readiness of the armed forces by improving the logistical infrastructure and improve the welfare of service men and women and also veterans.

“Presently, about 3,000 Ghanaian soldiers are involved in peacekeeping operations around the globe. We need to do more to keep their morale high and empower them. We have decided that they should be paid their allowances at post and not on their return. I am glad to say that this new regime of payment has been applied to the case of The Gambian deployment.

Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to be able to inform the House that the outstanding arrears of $13 million for all peacekeeping personnel have been cleared by my government and the contingents in The Gambia have been paid all their allowances in full,” the President told Parliament.

He said the police were the first line of security and protection for citizens, for which reason every step ought to be taken to have an efficient Police Service that had the confidence and support of the people.

Towards that end, he said, he was determined to give whatever support was required from the government to ensure that Ghanaians had the Police Service that they deserved.

“We must get a more professional Police Service, where recruitment and training practices are of acceptable international standards. We shall continue recruitment into the service, with the aim of meeting the UN ratio of one police officer to 500 civilians and also ensuring gender equity,” he added.

Tackling corruption

President Akufo-Addo said the rule of law ought to remain the guiding and unbending principle for those in public service and that they ought to acknowledge that corruption was one of the biggest concerns to the people of Ghana.

“It is the one subject on which a surprising number of people are willing to tolerate a waiver of due process. This is because, unfortunately, public officials are in danger of losing the confidence of the people in the fight against corruption. There is a perception that all public officials are part of a great scam to defraud the public and that they protect one another. It is in everybody’s interest that the fight against corruption is transparent and has the support of the public,” he urged.

In that vein, he said, the Office of the Special Prosecutor had been shown to work in other places, adding that he would be bringing legislation before the House for its rapid establishment.

“I am satisfied that the office will be established in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In like manner, I shall propose for legislation amendments to the current asset declaration regime to make it more effective,” he disclosed.


While expressing his strong adherence to the principle and practice of separation of powers among the arms of government, he called for a change in the way things were done and asked for that change to be reflective of the will of the people.

“Mr Speaker, there is one subject on my mind that I wish to put before the House for consideration. I believe, in this 60th year of our nation, that the time is ripe for us to establish consensus on some national issues. It is important for us to have a conversation on how we name things that are of national importance to us all. I speak of the seat of the Presidency and Founders’ Day.

“In my view, it is not right that, 60 years after independence, these matters are still at large. It does not inure to the dignity of the Ghanaian Republic that such matters have become subject to political football.

“I believe we have to settle these matters once and for all, and in due course. I propose we have a national conversation and dialogue to this effect which, hopefully, will end in legislation that will reflect the national consensus,” he said.

In a few days’ time, he said, the country would mark the 60th anniversary of its independence, adding: “We all know where we want Ghana to be and we are aware we are not where we want to be or ought to be. We also know of the big dreams of our forefathers to build a self-reliant and self-sustaining nation that will take pride of place among the comity of nations. This anniversary provides us with the opportunity to reflect on our past and plan for the future. This is the Ghana we see – a new Ghana.”


Source: graphic.com.gh