State of the Nation Address: Economic measures will address challenges – President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given the assurance that despite public anxiety due to the current economic challenges, the measures put in place by government will position the country on the path of growth and prosperity.

Delivering a message on the state of the nation to Parliament yesterday, the President appealed to Ghanaians to support his government as it implements measures to address the challenges.

“There are many problems that we have to overcome to get back to where we ought to be. I need your support. No President, no Parliament, no government can undertake this task all by themselves. We need all Ghanaians to pull and push together,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo spoke on a wide range of issues bordering on education, health, agriculture, the economy, among other sectors, and outlined the government’s plans to develop those sectors.

“The road to recovery will be hard and long, Mr Speaker, but we have started on a good footing by accepting that we are in a difficult place, and are taking the difficult decisions that will get us out.”

“If anyone ever had any doubts about the need to be self-reliant, the point has now been forcibly drilled home to us. The pursuit of the Ghana beyond Aid agenda is even more compelling now,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo pointed out that notwithstanding the socio-economic and health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Ghanaians displayed a spirit of togetherness and willingness to help each other at the height of the pandemic.

“I saw the sense of enterprise and innovation of the Ghanaian. I saw our manufacturers quickly adapt their plants to produce sanitisers and our tailors equally quickly displayed the innovation they had always been known for, by turning face masks into fashion items”.

“We have first class health professionals and they came into their own during the crisis, and we are providing the infrastructure to enhance the quality of their work. We have first class teachers; they showed it when the pandemic struck, and kept our children firmly to their books. The self-confidence of the Ghanaian is well rooted,” he said.

He thanked Parliament for approving the E-levy Bill after months of controversy and indicated that the tax would make significant contribution to revenue mobilisation and the management of the country’s economy.

President Akufo-Addo announced that the government spent an amount of GH¢17.7 billion (or 4.6 per cent of GDP) to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Before the pandemic however, he said his administration was on course building a strong and resilient economy, adding that the government’s performance between 2017 and the beginning of 2020 demonstrated that the nation was making progress.

“Indeed, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, we recorded average annual GDP growth rates of seven per cent, making us one of the fastest growing economies in the world. We grew the economy from the cedi equivalent US$54 billion at the end of 2016 to the cedi equivalent of $72 billion in 2020, 33 per cent increase. 

Touching on health, President Akufo-Addo said the programme of constructing hospitals in all the districts in the country, also known asAgenda 111, which was born out of the necessity to address the shortcomings in the health sector, would be completed before his tenure of office

The programme, he added, comprised standard 100-bed district hospitals for one 101 districts without hospitals, with accommodation for doctors and nurses, six new regional hospitals for each of the six new regions, and rehabilitation of the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the Western Region.

The programme also comprised the construction of one new regional hospital for the Western Region, and three psychiatric hospitals for each of the three zones of the country, that is, North, Middle and Coastal, he said.

“It is an ambitious project, which must and will be done, and which will create some 33,900 jobs for construction workers and, on completion, 34,300 jobs for health workers,” he said.

BY YAW KYEI

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