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General News Tue, 2 Apr 2019

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Government tackles $2.4bn energy debt

The $2.4 billion energy debt inherited by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration from the previous Mahama administration is being tackled, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians resident in Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, at a Town Hall meeting.

“But for a few challenges which reared their ugly heads recently, we have been able to handle ‘dumsor,’ today; we are exporting energy to Burkina Faso; we will begin again to Togo.”

On the importance of sustainable and reliable power, he said that it’s key to smooth operation of the bauxite, iron and steel industries which are being established by the NPP administration.

The President stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme entered into by his predecessor John Mahama would be the last time the country would turn to the Fund for such intervention to restore fiscal discipline into the country’s economy.

He said his predecessor Mr. Mahama resorted to the IMF after he lost control of the management of the economy between 2012 and 2016.

“Ghana, under the prevailing economic challenges, had to go through the IMF pill for the restoration of a certain dose of discipline into the country’s finances.

“Even when they left office in 2016, the issue was still at large. But by discipline, by honest management of our public’s finances, we have brought the situation back to where it should be. So we have exited the IMF programme,” the President said to spontaneous cheers from the crowd.

He continued, “What I am saying to Ghanaians, to all of us, is that in the 62 years of our independence, this was the 16th IMF bailout programme that the nation had gone into. Let it be the last time that we would resort to an IMF programme.”

President Akufo-Addo revealed that “from now on, we are going to maintain the discipline in the management of our public finances so that we will never have to resort to an IMF bailout programme again.”

He said: “If we must stay away from such interventions, this government and successive ones should keep within bounds; it is for the adherence to such discipline that the Fiscal Responsibility Act was passed.”

He said government had also capped the fiscal deficit at not more than 5 per cent of the nation’s GDP at any given year.

“We have also established a Presidential Advisory Council, headed by some very distinguished, eminent Ghanaian economists, who will advise the President on the measures to make sure that we maintain fiscal discipline. We are going to maintain fiscal discipline because that is the basis of managing an economy intelligently and rationally, and giving confidence to investors that they can look into your economy and invest in Ghana,” the President added.

“Major global companies are considering setting up bases here because of the prevailing economic conditions,” the President added.

“All of them are doing this and making plans in Ghana because now the fundamentals of the economy are in the right place. The Ghanaian economy is looking robust and is being organized and managed in a disciplined manner,” he stressed.

He said the vigilante law would definitely be passed, regardless of the NPP and NDC meeting over the subject.

“Legislation is on its way to ban it. We are still going ahead to pass the ‘vigilante’ law,” he maintained.

Source: Daily Guide Network

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