17th May 2024

President Akufo-Addo in parliament

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says, in spite of the significant gains made by the governing New Patriotic Party over the last three years, his administration is poised to do more in order to “reach the Ghana we want.”

The President said this when he delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address in Parliament yesterday.

The presentation took place under a very serene ambience following a boycott by the minority NDC MPs, who claim that the country’s democracy is under threat by the actions of the Akufo-Addo government.

Their action has, however, received condemnation from a large section of the populace.

Things are working

While making reference to his previous statement that he was elected to get things done and not complain, President Akufo-Addo stated: “Mr. Speaker, we have done just that. We have fixed the broken economy, we have delivered Free Senior High School education, we have brought the National Health Insurance Scheme back to life, we have revamped our agriculture…and we are determined to do more. Things are working in Ghana, and Ghana is surely changing.”

President Akufo-Addo said the economy has seen significant improvement, giving the people, especially the youth, a renewed sense of hope.

“Mr. Speaker, our nation is in good health, and in good, competent hands!” he said.

Revived state agencies

Confident that his government has a good story to tell in many areas, the President explained: “Once derelict state enterprises have been revitalised. Let me list a few: State Housing Company, Ghana Publishing Corporation, Ghana Post, GIHOC, State Transport Company, Ghana Maritime Authority have all been given a new lease of life, and are functioning with greater efficiency, and becoming, again, profit centres.”

Digitisation, he added, has also led to a remarkable improvement in the delivery of public services.

“We are all greatly relieved, for example, that the hassle has been removed for those who want to get passports. We are equally relieved that DVLA offices are no longer the nightmare places they used to be, and we can get driver’s licences without having to go through ‘goro’ boys. I have not had the experience myself yet, but I am assured that the STC has been transformed, and it is now a pleasant experience to travel on their buses,” the President said.

He added: “SSNIT has given a guarantee that when people apply for their pensions, they would get them within two weeks. I am told most people get them within ten days, a far cry from the sad, disgraceful and humiliating experience that pensioners used to go through to get their pensions.”

Successful PFJ

The President said, through hard work and commitment, the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) initiative is generating dividends.

“Agriculture was very much in the doldrums when we came into office, with a growth rate of 2.9 per cent. We introduced the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, and set about to make agriculture an attractive profession.

“We invested resources, expertise and time, and the results have been impressive and rewarding. Growth rate in 2017 was 6.1 per cent, and this increased to 6.4 per cent last year,” he stated.

Increased production and high yields of some foodstuffs like maize, rice, sorghum, groundnuts, soyabean, cowpea, cassava and plantain, he said, have led to a decrease in the wholesale prices in market centres in major food producing areas.

Relief for depositors

The President also had some good news for customers of failed saving and loans and microfinance institutions.

“I would like to repeat that all depositors of the savings and loans and microfinance institutions, including DKM which collapsed in 2015, will receive 100 per cent of their deposits, too, once the validation exercise is concluded, and I am informed that the receiver of the savings and loans and microfinance institutions will begin, on Monday, February 24, making payments to their customers, these monies, totalling five billion cedis, being in addition to the thirteen billion cedis being paid to the customers of the failed banks,” he said.

He said the whopping thirteen billion Ghana cedis could have worked wonders, for instance, in tackling the county’s infrastructure deficit, “but, we did think long and hard about paying all the customers of the failed banks, and we believe we made the right decision.”

China evacuation not ruled out

With regards to the evacuation of Ghanaian students from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus disease, the President said the government has been working with the Chinese authorities to find the best way to deal with the situation.

“We have a difficult and delicate situation on our hands, Mr Speaker, and it does not benefit anybody to try to score points by introducing ill-judged politics into this ongoing medical conundrum and humanitarian tragedy,” he said.

He added: “Most of these students are on Chinese government scholarships, and, since the crisis started, the Chinese government has done its best to keep them supplied with food and other logistics. The Ghana government, through its Mission, also supplies logistics, and the Embassy has given, so far, five hundred United States dollars (US$500) to each student.”

 

 

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