The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has recorded over 103 achievements in its first 100 days in office, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said.
He said although President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo did not make any promise on what to deliver within 100 days, his administration had implemented sound policies which had produced positive results.
Speaking at a public forum on the government’s 100 days in office in Accra yesterday, Vice President Bawumia said the government had recorded success in the areas of agriculture, energy, health, education, the macro-economy, among other areas.
Within three months, he said, the government had appointed all ministers and deputy ministers and had developed a budget that had shifted the focus of the economy from taxes to production.
He said the 2017 budget had abolished import duties on vehicle spare parts, reduced national electrification and public lighting levy, special petroleum tax rate, among other major changes in the country’s tax regime.
On agriculture, the Vice President said the government had trained about 1,200 agric extension officers and had imported over 300,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers to support farming.
In addition, he said prices of fertilisers had been dropped by 50 per cent to serve as incentive to farmers and support the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme which would be launched this month.
Dr Bawumia further indicated that the government had initiated moves to collaborate with the Ivorian government to address global challenges in the cocoa sector, including price volatility.
“Ghana and Ivory Coast produce about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa. When we collaborate to ensure that cocoa prices are not volatile, it will be a major historic landmark,” he said.
In the fishing sector, he said the government, under President Nana Akufo-Addo, had increased transparency in the distribution of premix fuel for fishermen.
Previously, he said only two oil marketing companies (OMCs) were allowed to distribute the fuel to fishermen and pointed out that the government had increased the number of OMCs to nine to bring more transparency in the distribution.
He noted that the government would give any OMC interested in distributing premix fuel the permission to do so without any restrictions.
Dr Bawumia said the government had halted the issuance of fishing licence to avoid over fishing and had trained several watchdogs to monitor light fishing and other illegal fishing activities
On aviation, he said before the Nana Akufo-Addo administration took over in January, major international airlines had cancelled their flights to Ghana and indicated that the airline companies had started showing interest.
“We are trying to make sure that we are the destination of choice. Air France has commenced operations in Ghana after decades of absence,” he said and added that the government would open up the aviation sector for more flights to come in.
The Vice President touched on the government’s achievements in the tourism sector and indicated that a safety audit had been conducted across all tourist sites in the country to ensure safety of tourists.
In addition to that, he said a Presidential Museum had been launched to promote tourism and preserve the country’s history.
Vice President Bawumia said the government had initiated moves to address illegal mining which had destroyed water bodies and created many environmental challenges.
He indicated that the government had suspended the issuance of licence for small scale mining and had identified specific mining areas for small scale miners to ensure that they did not operate haphazardly.
In addition, he said the government had banned all mining activities around water bodies and had intensified surveillance in those areas using drones.
“We will continue with this exercise to ensure that we bring this problem of galamsey under control,” he said.
On education, he said the government had awarded contract to train teachers in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and indicated that over 1,400 teachers would be trained on the programme this year.
Dr Bawumia indicated that the government had allocated GH¢518 million to the railway sector to revive the industry and facilitate railway transport in the country.
Government, he said, had also increased the portion of the District Assemblies Common Fund for persons with disabilities from two per cent to three per cent.
“In the health sector, approval has been given to employ 11, 000 trainees who graduated between 2012 and 2016,” he said and indicated that the decision was to create employment for the nurses who had completed school but had no jobs.
Vice President Bawumia also announced that more than 80,000 youth would, this year, be enrolled in different modules under the Youth Employment Agency programmes as part of the measures to create jobs for the youth.
Within the past 100 days, he said the government had completed the appointment of ministers, established a functional Economic Management Team that met every week, developed a policy not to buy cars for public officers and scrapped the policy that allowed government officials to buy state cars, among others.
In addition, he said the government had allocated GH¢150 million to clear all arrears in the school feeding programme, and earmarked GH¢290 million for the Zongo Development Fund.
On the government’s foreign policy, he said President Akufo-Addo had a policy to contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the sub region through peacekeeping missions.
As a result, he said all arrears owed officers of the Ghana Armed Forces on peacekeeping missions had been paid in full.
“We have worked with other African countries to get three Ghanaians in high offices in the African Union (AU),” he said.
By Yaw Kyei