General News of Thu, 30 Jun 201622
Don’t hesitate to point out our flaws – Mahama tells Clergy
President John Mahama has called on the Clergy not to hesitate to call his government to order if it does anything wrong. He has also appealed for more intercessory prayers to hold the nation together to sustain the peace and democratic governance.
President Mahama, who was addressing Clergymen and Women at a Breakfast meeting in Kumasi as part of his Accounting to the People Tour, used the occasion to explain some interventions to address key challenges the nation has faced over the last few years.
The President expressed concern about deliberate comments intended to paint a hopeless picture of national progress which in turn has the potential of influencing investor interest and perceptions in the international community.
President Mahama observed that Ghana does not live in isolation and that global trends could affect policies that need to be tailored to address challenges that come with them.
He also used the occasion to explain developments in the energy sector and the economy at large.
On sustained power supply, he noted that the increasing demand as a result of Ghana’s expanding economy has made it necessary for the government to make huge investments in the energy sector including the introduction of favourable policies that will attract independent power producers.
“Ghana now depends largely on thermal energy. And so the lower the amount of hydro you put into the system the higher the tariffs because of the high cost of generation. If the rains come and hydro ponds get full that is Akosombo, Kpong and the rest of them, and we bring in more hydropower then we can reduce the amount of crude oil that we are using to generate and it means tariffs can see a downward trend.”…the President said.
He added, “Asogli Phase two has come on track, Karpower, Ameri, KTTP and the rest. But for irregular supply to Asogli, we would have had redundancy. Though the situation has improved, we are not out yet.
The President again assured that complaints about abnormal electricity tariffs would see an improvement next month when ECG begins to implement its new billing system.
On the economy, the President explained the pressure on the public purse as a result of the implementation of the single spine salary structure.
“Wages and salaries including arrears of single spine consume 73percent of total tax revenue. Inflation was rising, interest rates and so we had to introduce structural reforms to stabilise the economy. The Senchi Consensus and the IMF programme has made an impact and we are seeing the dividend,” he added.
President Mahama further stated that the remaining 27percent of tax revenue was meant for all other expenditure. However, the strategy to reduce wages and salaries as a percentage of tax revenue has worked well. It now stands at 49 percent.
He mentioned the removal of subsidies on petrol, electricity and also spoke on progress in the health, education and road sectors.
Present at the event were the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, Deputy Minister for Power, John Jinapor, Communications Minister, Dr Omane Boamah, the Minister of Interior, and the Ashanti Region Minister.
The Clergy drawn from the Orthodox, Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches included Rev Dr Steve Asante, who delivered a powerful sermon on falling standards in the Church and the need to fight corruption.
Other Pastors present were Venerable Elvis Acheampong, Vicar General of the Anglican Church who represented the Archbishop, Rev. Joseph Inkoom of the Methodist Church, Rev Nimo of the CCG, Rev Dr Riverson, Apostle FY Agyemang Apostolic Church Ash Town.