The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says Ghana, since he assumed the reins of office on 7th January, 2017, from the erstwhile Mahama administration, has been put back on the right path, with his vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid well within reach.
Delivering his Message on the State of the Nation to Parliament on Thursday, 8th February, 2018, President Akufo-Addo indicated that, on the same occasion in 2017, “I conveyed my dismay at the full extent of the economic mess, in which our nation was mired. We had inherited an economy that was in distress, choked by debt, and with macroeconomic fundamentals in disarray.”
At the time, the President told Parliament of the urgent need to implement some tough, prudent and innovative policies to get the country out of the financial cul de sac she found herself in we were in, and assured, at the same time, that his government would grow and expand the economy.
“I am glad to be able to report that the Economic Management Team, under the stellar leadership of the strong, brilliant economist, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, has risen to the challenge, and the hard work is beginning to show positive results,” the President said.
He indicated further that his government has reduced taxes, brought down inflation and interest rates, increased economic growth rate from the alarming 3.6% at December 2016, to 7.9% in the government’s first year, with indications that it will be even better in 2018.
“We have increased our international reserves, maintained relative exchange rate stability, reduced the debt to GDP ratio and the rate of debt accumulation, we have paid almost half of arrears inherited, and, crucially, we are current on obligations to statutory funds,” he stated.
The President continued, “I am also pleased to report that the 3-year IMF-supported Extended Credit Facility Programme, begun in 2015, comes to an end this year. The relatively good macroeconomic performance in 2017 will strongly support our successful completion of the IMF programme. We are determined to put in place measures to ensure irreversibility, and sustain macroeconomic stability, so that we will have no reason to seek again the assistance of that powerful global body.”
President Akufo-Addo told the packed House that his government, in the short space of 1 year in office, has been able to restore teacher and nursing training allowances, doubled the capitation grant, and, to confound the sceptics and professional naysayers, government has implemented Free Senior High School education.
The Free SHS policy, he stressed, has enabled 90,000 more students gain access to Senior High School education, in 2017, than in 2016, noting that, “we have, nevertheless, been able to meet my promise made last year to the House, and reduced the fiscal deficit from 9.3%, to an estimated 5.6% of GDP.”
As he promised in his Message in 2017, President Akufo-Addo added that “our economists have found imaginative ways to deal with the oppressive debt situation. This has brought some relief, and the annual average rate of debt accumulation, which, in recent years, has been as high as 36%, has declined to 13.6%, as at September 2017.
As a result of prudent economic management, the President stated that the public debt stock as a ratio of GDP is 68.3%, against the annual target of 71% for 2017, and end 2016 actual figure of 73.1%, adding that “as a result of appropriate policy, and the normalisation of the power situation in the country, they have also engineered a spectacular revival of Ghanaian industry, from a growth rate of -0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017.”
In borrowing from the language of the economists, the President indicated that for the first time in a long while, Ghana’s macroeconomic fundamentals are solid, and all the critical indices are pointing in the right direction.
With the world taking notice of Ghana’s economic strides, President Akufo-Addo referred to projections by the World Bank, where the global financial institution has indicated that Ghana’s economy would probably grow by 8.3% in 2018, which would make it the fastest growing economy in the world.
Additionally, the President cited a report by Bloomberg, which described Ghana’s Stock Exchange as the best-performing Stock Exchange in the world for January 2018., illustrating how the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index had gained 19% since the start of the year, in dollar terms, ahead of the Nigerian, Chinese and Brazilian Stock Markets.
“I know that, when it comes to the economy, many of us have very low tolerance for what we consider as boring figures, and we do not see that they affect the reality of our everyday lives. But, as I said earlier in the year, this current set of boring figures happens to spell good news for our economy,” he said.
The President added further that “there are figures that the most innumerate among us can relate to, and which can hardly be described as boring. I refer to the figures that emerge when you look at the difference between sole sourcing of government procurement, and opening it to tender.”