President Nana Akufo-Addo
PRESIDENT AKUFO-Addo has said there are reasons to be optimistic about Ghana’s economy rebounding, which is evidenced in the 5.4% growth rate chalked in 2021, to enable it return to high and sustained growth over the next two years.
According to him, Ghana will, again, as happened in his first term, be a shining example to the rest of the world, asserting that his government is on the right path with its flagship GH¢100 billion Ghana CARES “Obaatan Pa” programme to revitalise and modernise the economy.
Addressing this year’s May Day parade at the Independence Square in Accra on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo stated that the government’s historic GH¢10 billion YouStart Programme, to encourage youth entrepreneurship, will be launched by June.
“Together, they will help transform, revitalise and modernise the economy to enable it return to high and sustained growth over the next two years. We are doing so with greater urgency to create job opportunities in different sectors of the economy. We have done it before, and we will do it again,” he announced.
The President asserted that he remained “upbeat and optimistic” that the government, organised labour and the business community working together as social partners, in all sincerity and transparency, can help sustain the rebound of the economy, and, thereby, help improve the living standards of all Ghanaians.
“Just as we have worked together to reduce significantly the impact of COVID-19 on lives and livelihoods; and just as we worked together to grow the economy from the 3.4% I inherited in 2016, to an average annual growth rate of 7% in my first term, before the pandemic struck, making us one of the fastest growing economies in the world,” he submitted.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaians must not lose sight of the nation’s overarching vision, which is to build a Ghana Beyond Aid, and noted, “I remain confident that we can free ourselves from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and handouts, and build a self-reliant economy which will mobilise the immense resources of Ghana, material and human, with women and youth in the forefront, to resolve Ghana’s problems, and deliver a decent, dignified standard of living to the working people of our country.”
He paid tribute to organised labour and its leadership for their invaluable contribution in helping to keep the country on its two feet at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, “Your co-operation has been a mark of patriotism, and I applaud you for that.”
“On the occasion of the 2021 May Day Celebration, I express the resolve of the government to win the fight against COVID-19. It was also my hope and expectation that we would celebrate this year’s May Day ceremony without masks. A year on, I am excited not only because of the news of the rebound of our economy, evidenced in the 5.4% growth rate chalked in 2021, but also because we are returning to commemorating May Day as we should.”
According to him, over the past year, in particular, the government has implemented a number of policies and programmes all in an attempt to hasten economic recovery from the ravages of COVID-19.
“We have introduced measures to improve fiscal consolidation, and ensure debt sustainability, which are critical to achieving macroeconomic stability in the short to medium-term. These measures, such as the passage of the E-Levy Bill, have not been introduced in isolation.
“They have come on the back of a revenue loss of GH¢13.1 billion, and an increased, unbudgeted expenditure of GH¢14.2 billion. There is, thus, an overall fiscal impact of some GH¢27.3 billion, representing 6.8% of GDP,” he noted.
He continued, “We have to make concerted efforts as partners to hasten our recovery from COVID-19 by finding intelligent ways of bringing everyone on board to contribute their quota, no matter how small.”
Cut In Expenditure
The President said the government had to cut discretionary expenditures of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by 30% and reduced the salaries of political appointees by 30% for the rest of the year, beside the reduction of their fuel coupon allocation by 50% and placement of a moratorium on the purchase of imported vehicles amongst others.
“As the main source of growth and job creation, the health of the private sector is integral to the revitalisation of the economy, to the protection of existing jobs and incomes, and to the creation of new ones,” he added.
BY Ernest Kofi Adu