By: Stephen Odoi Larbi
THE PRESIDENT, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is very optimistic about Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
He is very confident that the Ghanaian economy which experienced a rebound in 2017 will even do much more better in 2018 due to the pragmatic measures they have put in place.
“Mr Speaker, we inherited an economy that was in distress; chocked by debt and with macroeconomic fundamentals in disarray. You will recall that I said we would have to implement some tough, prudent and innovative policies to get us out of the financial difficulties we are in. I made some brave predictions – I said we will reduce significantly the budget deficit and I said at the same time that we will grow our economy.
“Mr Speaker, the Vice-President, Dr Mahama Bawumia who is the Chairman of the Economic Management Team, has risen to the challenge and the hard work is beginning to show positive results,” he noted.
For instance, President Akufo-Addo said his administration had reduced taxes and brought down inflation and interest rates with economic growth increasing from the alarming 3.6% as at December 2016 to 7.9% in 2017.
“The indicators are that it will even be better this year (2018),” he stressed in his message on the State of the Nation which was delivered on the floor of Parliament, Thursday.
Looking so energetic and exhuming with much confidence, President Akufo-Addo continued to tout the successful gains his administration had chalked over the past year, noting that they have been able to increase the country’s international reserves, maintained relative exchange rate stability, and reduced the debt to GDP ratio and rate of debt accumulation.
In addition to that, his administration has been able to pay “almost half of the arrears inherited and crucially, we are current on our obligation to statutory funds.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported extended credit facility programme which began in 2015, he explained, will come to end this year (2018). He assured the nation that his government had no plans or intentions to go to the global financial institution for any assistance again.
“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 sustained macroeconomic stability so that we will have no reason to seek again the assistance of that powerful global body.”
Commenting further, the former Attorney-General told the House that his administration had successfully restored teacher and nursing training allowances and doubled the Capitation Grant.
To confound the skeptics and professional naysayers, the New Patriotic Party (NPP)-led government has implemented the Free Senior High School education.
“It has enabled 90,000 more students gain access to Senior High School education, in 2017, than in 2016. Mr Speaker, 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 I promised, 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, 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%. 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,” he explained.