1st budget to target ailing economy – Pres Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo in a tete-atete with former President Maham at the ianauguration of the Gambian President Adama Barrow

President Akufo-Addo in a tete-atete with former President Maham at the ianauguration of the Gambian President Adama Barrow

The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured Ghanaians that the first budget of his administration, will contain well-thought through policies to put the ailing Ghanaian economy back on track.

The President was addressing members of the Ghanaian community resident in Banjul on Saturday, after attending the inauguration ceremony of President Adama Barrow and the 52nd Independence Day celebration of The Gambia.

President Akufo-Addo said Ghanaian reposed their confidence in him on December 7, largely because they believed him to be the one who could turn the dwindling fortunes of the country around.

He, therefore, noted that it was incumbent on him to justify the confidence reposed in him, and as such, assured that he would not disappoint the people of Ghana.

While acknowledging the fact that the economy inherited from the Mahama government was not in the best of shape, he, nonetheless, maintained that “we are going to fix it. We have outlined a number of prudent policies and measures which are contained in our first budget to be read on March 2.”

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta is expected to present the maiden economic policies and budget statement for 2017 of the new government to Parliament on March 2.

These policy initiatives and measures, amongst others, the President noted will ensure that the private sector was strengthened and flourished, adding that “it is only when the private sector flourishes that we can create the high numbers of jobs required by the teeming masses of Ghanaian youth. When the private sector flourishes, then we will be on the sure path towards progress and prosperity for all Ghanaians.”

It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo reiterated his belief that his government would revive the Ghanaian economy, adding that “we are going to get our economy going again, and get enterprises in our country to be more competitive, so that they can begin to employ more and more people.”

The widespread unemployment in Ghana, he said, “is a major social and economic problem and we have to do something about it. I believe that we are going to do something about it, and you will see that through the measures we are going to put in place in our budget.”

He applauded them for being “law abiding”, stating that all reports he had garnered on his short visit to The Gambia was indicative of the fact that the Ghanaian community, most often than not, did not fall foul of the law. The President, thus, urged them to continue in the same vein.

Reacting to concerns raised by the leadership of the Ghanaian community, President Akufo-Addo assured that issues regarding the acquisition of Ghanaian biometric passports and the opening of a consulate in Banjul will be addressed soon by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who was also present at the meeting.

On the matter of high import duties levied on them at the ports in Tema and Takoradi, the President indicated that this issue was one of grave concern to Ghanaians and Ghanaian business owners.

He noted that the issue of high taxes is being looked at by the Minister of Finance and a number of tax cuts would be announced in the March 2 budget.

President Akufo-Addo, appealed for prayers for Ghana, his government and himself, explaining that “I need your prayers all the time for me to be able to succeed. I have put together a very solid team, and I assure you that we will work together with the same spirit – the spirit of wanting to serve our country.”

The President has since returned home.

By Times reporter

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