President Nana Akufo-Addo is blowing loudly the horn of a seeming macro-economic stability in the first six months of his administration.
In his first media encounter with selected journalists and practitioners, the president did not fail to chronicle the rather weak economic foundation he inherited and how his government has worked towards stability.
According to him, key on his agenda when he was sworn into office was how to stabilize the economy which had been ravaged by debts, high inflation and depreciating cedi.
Even though he was aware of the enormity of the economic challenges at hand, he said he was “shocked” at the state of affairs he found in office.
He said the depth of the problem required an awful lot of tough decisions by his team of “competent” economic managers headed by the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Having been suffocated by what he referred to as “nuisance taxes”, the president said they had to review the policy direction from taxation to production.
He said a government voted for change could not afford to do business usual and the “Asempa budget” which is fully in gear is solving some of the challenges.
The president said the macro- economic indices are “beginning to show a turn for the better.”
“The monetary policy rate of the Bank of Ghana has been cut from 25.5% to 22.5% in the first half of the year; inflation has gone down from 15.4% in December 2016 to 12.1% in June from ie. a period of six months, the lowest in four years.
The benchmark 91-day Treasury bill rate was 22.8% in January 2016 and it is narrowed to 11.9% in June this year, the lowest in five years,” he touted.
For a government that promised to use a vehicle of one district one factory policy to employ an army of unemployed youth, the president said the policy is destined to succeed given what has been done so far.
The one district one factory policy was one of the campaign mantras of the NPP with the hope of creating factories in each of the 216 districts of the country.
The policy is expected to harness the raw materials and resources within each district and set up factories for purposes of value addition which will create jobs.
The challenge was how to raise the necessary funding for such an ambitious policy but the president said there is no cause for alarm.
He said a total of $100 million has been invested for district enterprises under the one district, one factory policy.
Together with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) the president said they have secured an amount of $2 billion from the Chinese government for the supply of equipment.
The president also touched on a number of issues including galamsey, restoration of the teacher and nursing training allowances.
The encounter was attended by a number of journalists across the country.
President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says having assumed office on January 7, 2017, the least he expected from his own political party members were acts that will impugn the integrity of the government and the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
But to his utmost surprise, he was hard-hit with bad publicity by the media following some wrong doings by the Invincible and Delta Forces, two vigilante groups with strong ties to the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Addressing Editors and Senior Journalists at the Flagstaff House on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo said when he was confronted with the issue, the best that he could offer was not to shield anybody but to let the law takes it full course.
“I communicated to the law enforcement agencies that the best thing to do was to let the law take its full course without any political interference,” he noted.
The President’s encounter with the media was to avail himself and account for his stewardship for the six months that he has been in office.
President Akufo-Addo was sworn into office on January 7, 2017, after winning 53.84% of votes cast in the December 7, 2016, elections.
President Akufo-Addo has said elite schools in the country will be required by the government to preserve 30% of their admission space for pupils from deprived schools under the Free SHS policy, which begins in September this year.
He said the move is to ensure balance in the admission of students in the well-equipped schools.
“Elite schools’ will be required to reserve 30% of the places for students from ‘deprived’ areas. The Minister of Education will set out the road map for implementing the program,” the President told journalists during his maiden encounter with the media in Accra Tuesday.
There are concerns over the mode of implementation of the flagship education program of the Akufo-Addo government. There are fears the scholarship scheme will sideline students who are unable to attain specific grades.
But the President has clarified that any student who qualifies to enter senior high school will benefit from the program.
The Free SHS policy was a major campaign message for the NPP during the 2016 elections.