Sound economic management has provided funding for flagship programmes, says President Featured

By Nana Yaw Dwamena October 31, 2019 2275 625 comments

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has disclosed that the New Patriotic Party government is able to finance its numerous flagship programmes, introduced after taking over the reins of power, as a result of proper management of the Ghanaian economy.

The President said this yesterday when he addressed the 8th edition of the Ghana Economic Forum at Tang Palace, in Accra.

The Akufo-Addo government, in 2017, introduced a host of ambitious policies aimed at creating wealth and jobs for Ghanaians. The policies include the Free Senior High School, which is currently enrolling some 1.2 million pupils, the highest number of pupils in senior high schools in Ghana’s history.

The Planting for Food and Jobs has also led to the revival of agriculture, bringing in its wake a bumper harvest, in 2018, and exports of significant quantities of food stuffs to Ghana’s neighbours.  The same expected for 2019.

The President also cited the 1-District-1-Factory initiative, the 1-Village-1-Dam policy, the restoration of allowances of nursing and teacher trainees, which were scrapped by the Mahama government, the employment of 100,000 graduates under the Nation Builders Corp, and the recruitment of 60,000 young men and women under the Youth in Afforestation Programme as examples of some of the policies that have been implemented since he assumed office.

Bad inheritance

According to the President, the economy inherited by the NPP was nothing worth writing home about. This, he stated, was evidenced in a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.6 per cent, a fiscal deficit of 9.3 per cent, inflation at 15.4 per cent percent, a weak external reserves position, and a banking sector weighed down by a plethora of poorly capitalized, weak and insolvent institutions, with potentially grave consequences for the entire financial system.

He stated that apart from agricultural and industrial activities which were down, there was also massive unemployment, especially among the youth, coupled with low incomes and high prices.

“This was the distressing state of the economy that awaited us in January 2017, despite an ongoing, three-year IMF Extended Credit Facility arrangement that had been initiated in April 2015 with the previous Mahama government,” the President added.

Turning things around

With the economy showing positive signs, he said the prudent management of the economy has made Ghana one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The IMF has projected Ghana’s economy, this year, to have one of the world’s highest growth rates of 7.6 per cent.

“Inflation for September stood at 7.6%, in single digits, the lowest in over two decades. Our exports are growing healthily; our trade balance account, for the first time in more than a decade, recorded a surplus in 2017, maintained it in 2018, and we expect to maintain the surplus for this year as well. We have brought the fiscal deficit down to 4.5%,” he said.

On the country’s external reserves, the President said, as at June 2019, it stood at 4.3 months of import cover.

“All our macroeconomic indices are pointing in the right direction, and it comes as no surprise, therefore, that, today, Ghana is the leading recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa,” he said.

He noted that, at the half-way stage of 2019, according to the Bank of Ghana, the banking sector recorded a profit after tax of GH¢1.67 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 36.3 per cent, compared with 21.7 per cent in the same period last year.

Ghana making strides

Ghana successfully exited the IMF programme, in April this year, with their strong commendations on the recent management of the economy.

“It is gratifying to note that these important achievements in financial and economic stabilisation have been recognised and appreciated not only in Ghana, but also internationally,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Since 2017, the international rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch, have both upgraded Ghana’s credit rating to ‘B’ with a stable outlook, up from ‘B’ minus with a negative outlook and ‘B’ minus, respectively, in 2016.

This has enabled the country to access Eurobond markets at lower rates and longer maturities.

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