General News of Wed, 7 Mar 20183
Ghana beyond aid real - Akufo-Addo
President Akufo-Addo lifted high the hope and aspiration of Ghanaians when he touched on the new path the country is charting towards growth and prosperity when he delivered a speech at the Black Star Square to mark Ghana’s 61 years of nationhood.
Present were the President of Nigeria, Muhamadu Buhari – who was the special guest of honour – and Senate President of that country, Abubakar Bukula Sakari.
President Akufo-Addo noted, “It is time to pursue a path to prosperity and self-respect for our nation,” in reference to building a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid.’
He said Ghana is a prosperous and self-confident country that is in-charge of her economic destiny – a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, and that engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment.
President Akufo-Addo said, “It is not a pie in the sky notion, because other countries, including some of our peers at independence, have done exactly that.”
He insisted, “It is doable, and we must believe that what others, with less resources, have done, we can do.”
President Akufo-Addo added, “We are not going to achieve the transformation in our economy, which is necessary for a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid,’ by just talking about it. We have to do something about it”
The president charged, “We have to do things differently to realize this goal of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ for a simple reason that ‘business as usual’ will not do it.”
That, he said, cannot happen by the waving of a magic wand and can also not be achieved overnight.
Whiles he admitted the fact that the most rapid cases of economic and social transformation in history, especially those in South East Asia, generally spanned a period of about 30 years – about a generation – Nana Akufo-Addo, who has said he is in a hurry to develop Ghana, emphasised, “We cannot wait that long.
We have wasted enough time already. It is time to get on with it, and the time is now.”
He was convinced that “To get to a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid,’ we will have to harness effectively our own resources, and deploy them creatively and efficiently for rapid economic and social transformation. As I said in the Independence Day address last year, this will require hard work, enterprise, creativity and a consistent fight against corruption in public life.”
Also, he was of the firm conviction that “it will also require that we break from a mentality of dependency and adopt a confident ‘can do’ spirit, fuelled by love for our dear country, Ghana. We cannot subordinate the common good to build a prosperous nation to the selfish interest of a few.”
President Akufo-Addo believes, “We have started on the right path towards a prosperous future with the concrete steps we are taking to restore macro-economic stability and economic growth.”
After a year of disciplined and innovative economic management, he could not but reiterate, “The results have been remarkable. Our economy has grown from 3.6% in 2016 – the lowest in 22 years – to 7.9% in 2017; and in this year it is expected to grow at 8.3%, which would make it the fastest growing economy in the world.
“Inflation has gone down from 15.6% at the end of 2016 to 10.3%, as of January this year. Ghanaian industry has witnessed a spectacular revival from a growth rate of negative 0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017.”
Interest rates, he said, are on the decline whiles the cedi is stabilising, and the fiscal deficit has gone down from 9.3% in 2016 to 5.6% of GDP in 2017, with a projection of 4.5% for 2018.
Apart from these, he said, “Fiscal discipline has been restored, and fiscal consolidation has taken hold step and for the first time since 2006, government has been able to meet its fiscal deficit target.”
He, therefore, assured, “We will continue to manage the economy in a disciplined and sound framework so that we maintain fiscal and debt sustainability.”
President Akufo-Addo claimed, “This year, we will see vigorous job creation in the public sector, beginning with the recruitment of 100,000 young men and women in the Nation Builders’ Corp.
“But, what I am seeking, above all, is the rapid growth of private sector jobs, both in industry and agriculture, i.e. in the programme for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs,’ which should generate a lot of rural sector jobs. Moving ‘Beyond Aid’ demands that effective measures are taken to address widespread unemployment, especially amongst our youth. We are on the right path to do so.”
Earlier, the president unveiled the design for the construction of a National Cathedral at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
Later in the day, President Akufo-Addo presented awards to deserving students – 30 in all – two from each of the 10 regions across the country and four others, physically challenged, with six others who excelled in extra-curricular activities.