His Excellency (HE) Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States (US) on Monday October 16, 2017, held a luncheon in honor of Ghana’s Senior Minister Honorable (Hon) Yaw Osafo-Maafo and Finance Minister Hon Kenneth Ofori-Atta at the Ghana embassy in Washington, DC in appreciation of the efforts the respective ministers and their teams.
The Osafo-Maafo delegation was in the US to attend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings in Washington DC as well as meetings in New York forming part of the government’s roadshow to raise $2.5 billion to help prop Ghana’s economy.
In his welcome address at the luncheon, HE Adjei-Barwuah said he and the embassy staff had put the event together out of appreciation for the hard work that the delegation put in for the time that they’ve been in the US. It was also to get the Ghanaian community to “interact with those people who make our country tick” the Ambassador said.
Hon Yaw Osafo-Maafo thanked the Ambassador and Ghanaians in the US for their warm reception, he then went on to praise the Vice President of Ghana Dr. Mahamadu Bawunia who is Chair of the Economic Management Team (EMT) established by President Akufo-Addo that is composed of himself, the Ministers of Finance, Planning, Trade and Industry and Energy respectively.
Hon Osafo-Maafo shares state of economy with Ghanaians in the US
The senior Minister thanked the EMT for helping plan the transitional budget during the takeover period after the 2016 elections by laying foundations that have today help in reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio in Ghana from 73.5% to about 70.5%. This figure is expected to decrease by the end of 2018 based on forecasts of the fiscal monitor report released by the (IMF).
The rate of inflation has been reduced from 15% to 12.2% and growth has jumped from 3.7% to about 9% as at the last quarter of 2017, painting a promising picture for employment creation according to Hon Osafo-Maafo. President Akufo-Addo has pointed out 4 cardinal areas Ghana needs to fine tune to allow for healthier economic growth, “they are microeconomic stability and debt sustainability, second is accelerated industrial development, third is infrastructure development and finally, agricultural transformation” according to Hon Osafo-Maafo.
“Everything we are doing is connected to these 4 cardinal principles which we are using to run the country and grow the economy” — Hon Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
Biting the bullet necessary to rid Ghana of Galamsey and indiscipline
The Senior Minister announced that very soon the government will come out with new rules and regulations to govern the small-scale mining industry and to ensure that people are not unfairly put out of employment while seeing to it that those engaged in Galamsey (illegal small-scale mining) are brought to book. He pointed out mining in all river beds and within certain distances of rivers and in forest reserves will be banned.
Though the courageous steps taken by the Akufo-Addo administration to tackle Galamsey in Ghana are slowly yielding results, there’s now the bigger battle of having to address the problems resulting from the pollution of water bodies created by illegal mining because “…even treating them [water from polluted rivers] for drinking has become a big problem because of the use of cyanide, chlorine and other pollutants…” Hon Osafo-Maafo said.
“I think our country has a problem with discipline and therefore all of us will have to sympathize with the government as it tries to introduce some discipline into the system,” pleaded Hon Osafo-Maafo who alluded to the fatal gas explosion that happened in the first week of October 2017 in Ghana.
He went on to call on all to obey simple rules and regulations “to make our country prosper as the government is determined to bite the bullet” on this matter.
Before taking his seat for lunch to be served, Hon Osafo-Maafo informed the embassy that Ghana is now embarking on an all-out campaign to prosper since “we are putting a lot of attention on the human capital development of our country” because any country that develops its human capital never regrets it.
Dignitaries and special guests in attendance
Master of Ceremony at the luncheon was Mr. Eric Owusu Boateng of the embassy’s Political Desk. Among the Hon-Osafo-Maafo-and-Hon Ofori-Atta team from Ghana was Hon Mark Asibey Yeboah the member of parliament for Juaben and ranking member of Finance, Minister of Planning Hon Prof Gyan Barfour, Dr. Yaw Nsu, advisor to the Ministry of Finance in Ghana and longtime staff of the World Bank and Deputy Minister of Information Hon Kojo Oppong Nkrumah.
Also in attendance was Mr. Ernest B. Asare-Asiedu, Minister Plenipotentiary and Head of Chancery at the Ghana Embassy, the Akwamuhene of Bekwai Traditional Council of Ghana Nana Ntiamoah Amankuo III and his wife Lydia Ntiamoah, representatives of African Ambassadors in the US, Ghanaians at the World Bank, leadership of respective Ghanaian associations in the Washington DC metro area, religious leaders including Rev Lord Asante Boadu who said the opening prayer, members of the community, and the media.