Ghana: President Akufo-Addo Delivers State of the Nation Handle

press launch

Mr Speaker, I’m glad to be right here with you once more on this august Home, the Parliament of our Republic, to carry out, for the third time, the nice obligation of fulfilling my constitutional obligation, by giving Honourable Members and the Ghanaian folks a message on the state of the nation.

In accordance with protocol and conference, it’s good to see that First Woman Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Second Woman Samira Bawumia, Partner of Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Alberta Ocquaye, Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, and Justices of the Supreme Courtroom, Chairperson Nana Otuo Siriboe II, and Members of the Council of State, Chief of Defence Workers Lt. Gen O.B. Akwa, Inspector Normal of Police David Asante Apeatu, and Service Chiefs, are all current. Mr. Speaker, the Home is duly honoured by the welcome attendance of the previous Presidents of the Republic, their Excellencies Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama, former First Woman, Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, and the Dean and Members of the Diplomatic Corps.

The Home must also be aware of the passing final yr of some distinguished residents of our nation – Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur; UN Secretary-Normal, Kofi Annan; Senior Minister, J.H Mensah; Justice of the Supreme Courtroom, Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe; PNDC Secretary, Ok.B Asante, and the Poet Laureate, Prof. Atukwei Okai. Could their souls relaxation and abide within the bosom of the Almighty till the final day of the Resurrection when we will all meet once more. Amen!

Mr. Speaker, I hope the Home will bear with me, as I’ve lots to say, and I could take fairly a while.

A month in the past, nearly to the day, I used to be in Yendi, fittingly attired as a self-proclaimed Prince of Dagbon, Prince Abudani, the primary of that lineage, to witness the set up of Yaa-Na Mahama Abukari II because the overlord of Dagbon.

1000’s of our compatriots had been there to share within the pleasure of the event. It was a ceremony that many had despaired we might ever see, however a brand new Yaa-Na, accepted by the 2 gates of Abudu and Andani, was put in on that day.

It delivered to an finish many years of feuding that laid low the proud and historical kingdom of Dagbon. It was a contented day, and it marked the climax of a protracted, tortuous journey, and a tough grind on the a part of many individuals by way of the years.

Two years in the past, after I had the honour to turn into President of our nation, I made a decision to summon all of the assets of the state and my very own energies, and make a concerted effort by way of the devoted, patriotic Committee of Eminent Chiefs that had been engaged on the issue for the previous 17 years, to seek out a suitable resolution. With the blessings of the Almighty, now we have had a breakthrough, and this led to the month-long sequence of occasions that climaxed within the set up on 25th January, 2019.

Mr Speaker, I used to be not trying to be accorded any particular title or accolade, and I used to be definitely not on the lookout for reward. I did need to do no matter I may to be sure that this lengthy operating sore, that was such a blight on Dagbon and Ghana, and which dragged down the event course of in our nation, could possibly be resolved, and we may transfer on.

We had spent sufficient emotional stress, sufficient time, sufficient vitality and sufficient cash on the Dagbon dispute; I needed that quantity of emotion, that point, that vitality and that cash to be spent on making Dagbon and Ghana affluent.

I’m grateful for the onerous work and knowledge of the eminent chiefs, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, Overlord of Mamprugu, and the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa, Overlord of the Gonja State, all of whom I salute, and for the help of many individuals on this Home on either side, and I pray that all of us proceed to construct on this achievement and midwife the method till peace turns into a part of the material of Dagbon.

The Minister for Chieftaincy and Non secular Affairs intends to make use of the momentum of the Dagbon settlement to sort out the opposite protracted chieftaincy disputes within the nation, hopefully, for decision.

Mr. Speaker, to be able to reinforce and help the method of reconciliation and the restoration of peace in Dagbon, I’ve determined that, this yr, the official 62nd Independence Day celebration will likely be held in Tamale, on sixth March. This would be the first time in our nation’s historical past that the celebration is being held outdoors of our nationwide capital of Accra. I’m, very a lot, wanting ahead to it.

Mr Speaker, this previous week, the grounds of Jubilee Home, the seat of our nation’s presidency, have resounded to numerous celebrations, as we marked the handing over ceremonies of the constitutional devices to the six new areas in our nation. It has taken 18 months of very onerous work and a few difficult manoeuvring to get to the place we’re at this time.

Once more, the requests and agitations for creation of latest areas have been long-standing, and now we have by some means by no means acquired round to coping with them. The primary petition for the creation of Oti area, for instance, dates again to 1954. Mr Speaker, it was time to take care of these excellent points in order that we may get forward with the enterprise of growing our nation. The creation of the six new areas opens up the nation and ensures that nobody feels minimize off from the centre.

Mr Speaker, no nook of this nation is being left behind. It is because of this that now we have created the three improvement authorities. It is because of this that now we have re-aligned the nationwide finances to make sure that each constituency will get the cedi equal of $1 million a yr for precedence tasks.

I’m able to state, and each member of this Home ought to have the ability to testify, that work is occurring in every of the 275 constituencies across the nation. The water and bathroom provision phase of the Particular Growth Initiatives is happening in each constituency. We got here into workplace with a plan, Mr Speaker, and I’m glad to say that we’re working and delivering in accordance with that plan.

Mr Speaker, now that the areas are in place, now we have the singular alternative to keep away from the previous errors of city planning which have made a few of our cities and cities such unattractive locations. The teachings would appear to indicate that the political capital doesn’t essentially need to be the positioning of all of the establishments, and this may information us within the organising of the brand new areas. Certainly, when designating the capitals of the brand new areas, on the ceremonies at Jubilee Home final week, I made it clear that Authorities is dedicated to the equitable distribution of presidency constructions and establishments throughout the areas. We are going to hold to the dedication.

Mr. Speaker, now we have additionally launched into one other facet of our formidable decentralisation programme, that’s the train to broaden full democracy to native authorities. Along with the creation of 38 Municipal and District Assemblies, and the elevation of twenty-nine (29) Districts to the standing of Municipalities, the Invoice for the modification of article 55(3) of the Structure has been gazetted, to pave manner for the direct, well-liked election, on partisan foundation, of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

It’s anticipated {that a} Referendum will likely be held on the Invoice, alongside the Unit Meeting and District stage elections in 2019. I’m calling, respectfully, for a repetition of the bi-partisan help, that made potential the vastly profitable outcomes within the referenda for the brand new areas, to make sure the success of the upcoming referendum. Moreover, a multidisciplinary panel of consultants is being assembled to plan, value, schedule and assist implement a roadmap for the election of MMDCEs. We’re dedicated to devolving increasingly energy to the Ghanaian folks.

Mr Speaker, the financial system is on the coronary heart of all we search to do, it’s the success of the financial system that may assure an enchancment within the high quality of the lifetime of our folks. I consider we’re all now agreed that the basics need to be sound if the financial system is to flourish. We have now simply concluded a programme with the IMF, and, with persevering with self-discipline, we will log off from the deal in April. That is the seventeenth time Ghana has needed to go to the IMF within the sixty-two years of her independence.

Mr Speaker, we can’t make the progress all of us need except we’re constant and disciplined within the administration of our financial system. The yo-yo nature of the growth and bust has not helped us obtain our objective of sustained prosperity, and raise us out of poverty. We have now gone by way of one other spherical of painful impositions to get to the place we’re at this time with wholesome fundamentals.

Mr. Speaker, manufacturing within the financial system, as measured by actual GDP development, has picked up very strongly within the final two years. From 3.4% in 2016, actual GDP development elevated to eight.1% in 2017. In 2018, provisional information for the primary three quarters point out a powerful actual GDP development of 6.0%, greater than the annual goal of 5.6%. Actual GDP development for 2019 is forecast at 7.6%. Ghana’s latest GDP development has positioned it amongst the best on the planet. The fiscal deficit is being introduced down from the 7.3% of rebased GDP in 2016 to a provisional 3.9% of GDP on the finish of 2018. The debt-to-GDP ratio has declined from the 56.6% of GDP in 2016 to 54.8% on the finish of 2018.

Inflation has dropped from 15.4%, on the finish of 2016, to 9% in January this yr, the bottom in six years, as introduced by the Ghana Statistical Service final week. Rates of interest are declining, and so is the Financial institution of Ghana Financial Coverage Price. Our commerce steadiness account, for the primary time in additional than a decade, recorded a surplus in 2017, and is anticipated to stay in surplus. In Could 2018, a US$2 billion Eurobond was issued for 30 and 10 years of US$1 billion every with coupon charges of 8.627% and seven.625% respectively, and these had been the bottom fee and the longest maturity in our historical past, signifying confidence within the financial system. It comes as no shock, subsequently, that, at this time, Ghana is the main recipient of Overseas Direct Funding in West Africa.

Mr Speaker, these are good figures, and as we put together to exit from the IMF programme in April, we anticipate the spectacular figures and good efficiency to proceed. We’re very a lot conscious that this isn’t the primary time now we have had such set of figures, however we’re decided to do issues in another way this time round; now we have imposed on ourselves fiscal self-discipline, we’re paying off legacy money owed and deepening good governance practices and enterprise confidence is rising. We are going to keep the self-discipline, and convey progress to our nation.

We have now determined to institute a authorized framework to assist with the self-discipline. We have now handed the Fiscal Accountability Regulation, Act 982, capping the deficit at 5% by legislation, and a few two weeks in the past, I inaugurated the Presidential Fiscal Accountability Advisory Council, chaired by the eminent, revered economist, Dr. Paul Acquah, former Governor of the Financial institution of Ghana and former Deputy Director of the Africa Division of the IMF, with a number of the best and most respected economists of our nation as members. Its goal is to advise the President on related, further measures wanted to take care of fiscal self-discipline.

We have now performed this as a result of we all know the temptation to go on a spending binge will all the time be there, we all know election years will come round and there will likely be stress on authorities to splurge, and persuasive arguments will likely be made that it’s important to keep in authorities to have the ability to implement your programmes. Nevertheless, I’m bent on operating a accountable administration, aware of the following technology, and never, merely, the following election.

Within the meantime, our efforts are bearing some fruits, and the world has taken discover of the advance in our financial fundamentals. In September final yr, after nearly a decade, we obtained our first Sovereign Credit standing improve from Commonplace and Poor’s (S&P). This improve noticed us transfer from B minus to B with a secure outlook. In December 2018, we additionally hosted the Managing Director of the Worldwide Financial Fund, Christine Lagarde, a go to that was historic in each sense, as this was the primary time that an IMF Managing Director had ever stepped foot on Ghanaian soil.

Mr Speaker, income mobilization poses the most important problem within the administration of our financial system, with the tax exemption coverage particularly proving to be an achilles heel, and a rising menace to fiscal stability and income technology. Within the final eight years, tax exemptions in respect of import obligation, import VAT, import NHIL and home VAT have grown from 300 and ninety-two million Ghana cedis (GH¢392 million), that’s 0.6% of GDP in 2010, to GH¢4.66 billion, that’s 1.6% of GDP in 2018.

These figures don’t embody exemptions from the fee of company and particular person earnings taxes, concessions on tax charges, petroleum tax reliefs, customs tax exemptions loved by diplomatic missions, and waiver of processing costs on the ports.

If we proceed at this fee, in lower than sixteen years, half of Ghana’s income base will likely be given away as tax exemptions.

Mr. Speaker, this isn’t sustainable, and we intend to do one thing about it to reverse the development, by introducing appropriate measures that will disrupt the straightforward and comfy preparations that many have turn into accustomed to, however which now we have to take to make sure that now we have the firmest of foundations for the financial take-off that has escaped us for therefore lengthy.

Mr. Speaker, employees within the public sector begun the yr on observe, after receiving a 10% improve of their salaries, on prime of the 11% increment of 2018. Forty-one thousand (41,000) employees within the casual sector had been additionally enrolled onto Tier-Three pensions schemes, with pensioners seeing a median increment of 11% of their month-to-month pension incomes, with the bottom earnings bracket receiving a 14.7% increment. Final yr, the Youth Employment Company (YEA) engaged some 100 and 7 thousand (107,000) youth in numerous employment modules, with an extra 100 and twenty-five thousand (125,000) set to be engaged this yr.

Mr. Speaker, to consolidate additional the relations between the social companions, within the publish IMF period, Authorities will shortly signal a landmark social partnership settlement with Organised Labour/the Trades Union Congress, the Ghana Employers’ Affiliation and Authorities, represented by the Ministries of Finance and Employment and Labour Relations, to supply a medium for constructing a way of cohesion, belief, self-management, frank and open discussions to champion the course of improvement.

Mr. Speaker, the struggle in opposition to little one labour has chalked some modest success. By the implementation of the second section of the Nationwide Plan of Motion (2017-2021), Ghana has been moved up from the Tier-2 Watch Listing place of the Trafficking in Individuals (TIP) Report back to Tier-2 in 2018.

Mr. Speaker, our ports stay necessary nationwide property. And we should handle them to enhance commerce and to the advantage of all Ghanaians. Authorities has launched reforms on the port to enhance effectivity. Amongst others, we launched the paperless operations on the ports and items may be cleared inside 1 to three days. Going ahead, now we have set ourselves the objective of constructing our ports essentially the most aggressive in West Africa. On this regard, some additional reforms would quickly be introduced by Authorities to reinforce the aggressive place of Ghana’s ports.

Ghana would be the toast of the world due to its financial system. We have now all accepted that these financial fundamentals are the muse upon which our folks will turn into affluent, but when they’re uneducated or poorly educated, then prosperity will proceed to elude them. Mr Speaker, a sudden injection of oil income or an increase or fall within the value of gold or cocoa could make a dramatic distinction to your monetary state of affairs, however there aren’t any shortcuts to having an informed and expert workforce. We have now no alternative however to supply our younger folks with high quality training and lifelong studying alternatives for each Ghanaian. It’s the solely manner to make sure prosperity, and to guard our democracy. We’re not sparing any efforts to make training in Ghana of the very best quality, and match for the wants of the 21st century.

In September 2019, a brand new standards-based curriculum will likely be rolled out from kindergarten to Class 6 in major faculties. This curriculum has drawn upon the very best practices from all around the world, and can concentrate on making Ghanaian kids assured, progressive, creative-thinking, digitally-literate, well-rounded, patriotic residents. Arithmetic, Science, Studying, Writing and Creativity are, subsequently, on the coronary heart of this new curriculum.

Mr Speaker, poverty shouldn’t be an excuse for any Ghanaian little one to not attain their full potential. It, subsequently, warms my coronary heart that we at the moment are capable of say that training within the public sector is free from Kindergarten to Senior Excessive College, and, that this yr, laws could be handed to redefine primary training to incorporate Senior Excessive College.

Younger folks need to have choices on which profession path they select, and I’m glad to announce that every one is about for the development of 10 state-of-the-art Technical and Vocational Training Coaching (TVET) Centres this yr. For a lot too lengthy, now we have preached concerning the significance of TVET with out doing very a lot to show this significance. We ship or urge younger folks to go to poorly outfitted TVET centres, and we’re stunned that they don’t seem to be eager. The brand new TVET centres could be world class, and engaging to guarantee younger those who they don’t seem to be being despatched to second finest choices.

We’re additionally bent on demystifying science, arithmetic and know-how. Ten Science, Know-how, Engineering and Arithmetic (STEM) centres are being constructed across the nation to supply help for the introduction of STEM into primary training after the completion of a profitable pilot section. We may be certain, subsequently, that Ghana’s younger folks will have the ability to purchase expertise that may put them at par with their friends wherever on the planet. The significance of science, know-how and innovation has led me to nominate a Presidential Advisory Council on Science, Know-how and Innovation (PACSTI) to advise the President on easy methods to infuse the appliance of science and know-how within the improvement of our nation, headed by a distinguished scientist, Prof. Edward Ayensu.

Mr Speaker, we will carry earlier than Parliament this yr, a tertiary training coverage Invoice that may carry all the general public universities beneath a typical legislation, and make the administration of the general public universities much less cumbersome.

Mr. Speaker, a well-motivated and remunerated instructor is on the centre of our high quality training and complete instructor coverage. This has began with the upgrading of the preliminary instructor training certificates to diploma standing, and the transfer to place the educating occupation up there with different professions by way of respect and exclusivity. At present, lots of our lecturers, who full the three-year Diploma in Primary Training (DBE) at our Faculties of Training, go on, later, to do a two-year top-up first diploma, by distance studying, on the College of Cape Coast. Because of this, along with the additional sum of money spent on getting a level, it can take them not lower than 5 years to get one. With the introduction of the 4-year Bachelor of Training diploma, instructor trainees would now receive their first diploma on the finish of their education. This ensures that they enter the educating service as college graduates.

Mr. Speaker, when our kids grasp the connection between science and their on a regular basis lives, we might attain the stage in Ghana the place we might be rid of the numerous illnesses, borne of filth and poor hygiene, which might be nonetheless a part of our lives. In pursuing these targets, we have to remind ourselves repeatedly that well being is wealth, and it’s only a wholesome inhabitants that may make Ghana affluent.

In Could 2018, Ghana received accolades on the World Well being Meeting for having eradicated Trachoma, an eye fixed illness that has plagued us for a very long time. At this time, our NHIS is buoyant. Authorities has paid up the GH¢1.2 billion arrears we inherited, and introduced the operations of the NHIS again to life. On 19th December, 2018, the introduction of cellular renewal of membership was launched. Since then, there have been, on common, seventy thousand (70,000) members renewing their membership each week, by dialling *929# on any cell phone community. Quickly, in collaboration with the Nationwide Identification Authority, Ghanaians would have the ability to register, renew and entry well being care companies utilizing the Ghana Card. We have now to thank Dr. Samuel Annor’s transient, however productive stewardship as CEO of the Nationwide Well being Insurance coverage Authority for that. I want him effectively in his retirement.

To ship healthcare to Ghanaians extra effectively, in 2018, authorities granted monetary clearance for the recruitment of 11 thousand, 100 and eighteen (11,018) well being personnel to extend current medical workers. To enhance the efforts of medical workers, in September 2018, the Ministry of Well being obtained additional monetary clearance to make use of fourteen thousand, 5 hundred and twenty-four (14,254) Nurse Assistants (Scientific and Preventive). These nurse assistants belong to the tranche that handed their exams in 2016 from Authorities Well being Coaching Establishments and have commenced work by February 1, 2019. The Ministry of Well being is working to acquire monetary clearance for the recruitment of the 2017 and 2018 graduates.

The well being supply system will likely be considerably strengthened by the anticipated arrival in June of 275 ambulances, i.e. one per constituency, to make therapy of emergency circumstances simpler. Drone know-how has additionally been launched into that system to assist ship important medication, blood and blood merchandise to distant communities.

We nonetheless face issues of insufficient infrastructure in our well being institutions. We have now issues of quite a few constructions at numerous phases of completion that can’t be completed and introduced into use, as a result of newer constructions are being began, and there’s no cash to complete those began earlier. Mr Speaker, once more, it is a long-standing downside that may be a mark of our underdevelopment. We is not going to ignore or sweep the issue beneath the carpet. We’re coping with it, and can full them.

Ghana’s hardworking nurses and docs would do their finest, as they’ve all the time performed, to ensure we get the very best well being care, however it behoves on every one in every of us to take care of ourselves higher. Other than exercising and taking our common well being check-ups significantly, it’s crucial that we eat wholesome diets to forestall illnesses which might be attributable to poor selections of diet.

Mr Speaker, once we are coping with issues of fine well being, we should essentially transfer on to shelter and housing. There’s an acute scarcity of user-friendly, first rate housing for folks in center and low-income brackets in our nation. It is a long-standing downside that will get worse with every passing day. It’s time to sort out the difficulty and discover a decision. We’re beginning with the completion of the numerous deserted tasks dotted across the nation. A consortium of native banks has raised 51 million {dollars} to fund the completion of the social housing models began by the Kufuor administration in 2006 at Koforidua, Tamale and Ho.

The Saglemi Housing Undertaking began beneath the final NDC authorities, can also be excessive on our record of priorities this yr. The 5 thousand (5,000) models it gives would increase our housing numbers. We’re, subsequently, establishing the worth for cash points surrounding the challenge to be able to reconcile the variety of homes constructed with the schedule of funds made, and speed up supply.

The 2019 finances made provision for the development of 200 thousand (200,000) housing models, and a database of native and overseas builders have been created to assist make this coverage a actuality. Land banks have additionally been secured in a number of cities throughout Ghana the place factories, producing pre-fabricated constructing supplies, may be sited for this big development effort. There are lots of well-intentioned tasks that ended up pricing out the low-income earners, who had been alleged to be their beneficiaries. We’re decided to be taught the teachings from previous tasks. The Ministry of Finance is working to launch a one billion Ghana cedi housing fund that may goal low-income earners.

Authorities will proceed with the opposite housing tasks for the police, armed forces and authorities employees throughout the nation, by way of companies just like the State Housing Company.

Probably the most thrilling information on the housing panorama, although, is the drafting of plans to regenerate Nima, which holds the doubtful title of being Accra’s first slum. It has, in fact, progressed very a lot since these early days, even when it has been unable to shake off the urban-slum title. I’m a proud resident of Nima myself, and I’m extraordinarily excited that the regeneration plans is not going to dislodge or dispossess residents, however would relatively remodel Nima right into a well-laid out residential space with full facilities. I’m wanting ahead to it, good work that’s being performed by the Ministries of Inside Metropolis and Zongo Growth and Works and Housing.

One other large downside is that of poor drainage in our cities and cities, which ends up in flooding in the course of the wet season. Then, there’s the intense downside of sea erosion alongside the coast that endangers the lives of our coastal folks. It’s time to take care of these long-term issues and discover long-lasting options, and we’re doing simply that.

The Odawna Storm Drains in Accra, which have triggered many tragedies over time, at the moment are being reengineered by a crew of consultants who will give it a everlasting repair. The Dichemso Drainage System can also be on our record of priorities, and a bid has been put out for consultants to rework it right into a extra environment friendly system.

Our ongoing coastal safety tasks are continuing in Adjoa within the Western Area, Blekusu, New Takoradi section II (Elmina), Dansoman, Axim and Dixcove. This yr, we may even start others in Amanful Kumah, Dansoman section II, Komenda, Anomabo, Cape Coast, Mensah Guinea, Ningo Prampram, New Takoradi Part III, Apam, Kokrobite, Bortianor, Blekusu Part II and Aboadze-Shama Part II, Maritime College, Nungua, Takoradi, Anyanui and Essipong.

Mr. Speaker, we’re putting in plans to avert the perennial flooding attributable to the spillage of the Bagre dam, which has resulted within the fixed lack of lives and property over time. Within the short-term, desilting of the White Volta will likely be undertaken this yr, along with discussions with the Burkinabes to manage the circulation of the spillage, and mitigate its impression. The Ministry of Works and Housing will, within the coming week, obtain a report on a feasibility examine carried out by the Chinese language firm, SinoHydro, for the development of a dam at Pwalugu, to function a receptacle to carry the quantity of water spilled from the Bagre Dam for irrigation functions, and likewise for the technology of electrical energy. This would be the everlasting resolution to the Bagre Dam downside. The requisite approvals will likely be sought by the Ministry from Cupboard and Parliament to allow the development of the Pwalugu Dam.

Mr. Speaker, if there was any Authorities that has been on the aspect of Individuals with Disabilities, it’s my Authorities. We have now elevated the share of the District Assemblies Frequent Fund to Individuals with Disabilities from 2% to three%, and now we have additionally ensured the implementation of our pledge of using 50% of the individuals who handle the nation’s toll cubicles from amongst Individuals with Disabilities.

Mr. Speaker, we’re persevering with with initiatives to enhance the Artistic Arts Sector. We have now additionally labored to finalise the Artistic Arts Invoice, resulting in the organising of the Artistic Arts Fund. For the primary time, in 2018, Authorities offered help to the Artistic Arts Council, and the Artistic Arts Masterclass, to construct capability of Artistic Arts practitioners, has additionally commenced. The Jap Regional Theatre has been accomplished, and work is at the moment ongoing in direction of the development of the Kumasi theatre.

Mr Speaker, contemplating how usually Ghana is within the information often for good causes, now we have not been capable of entice as many guests to our nation as we should always. We’re making a particular effort from now onwards to draw vacationers into our nation. Beneath the See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Put on Ghana and Really feel Ghana marketing campaign, the Ghana Tourism Authority recorded a 20% development since its launch to over 600 thousand visitations to numerous vacationer websites. The World Financial institution has authorised a US$40 million grant to help the Tourism Ministry and its companies to assist improve vacationer amenities.

In September 2018, in Washington D.C., in entrance of the Congressional Black Caucus of the US Congress, I proclaimed 2019 because the “Yr of Return”, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the primary 20 West African slaves within the Commonwealth of Virginia, in what was to turn into the US of America. We intend to make use of the symbolism of this “Yr of Return” to carry collectively Africans, individuals of African descent, and all well-wishers and lovers of freedom to strengthen the dedication to making sure that the blots on our historical past, i.e. the Transatlantic Slave Commerce and slavery, by no means reoccur. In response to this proclamation, some seventy (70) African-American Hollywood celebrities visited Ghana in December 2018. The year-long marketing campaign, being coordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority, is anticipated to extend arrivals significantly.

Coaching throughout your entire tourism sector can also be receiving precedence. The Hospitality Coaching Institute has been renovated, and re-opened in July 2018 to supply wanted coaching within the hospitality and tourism sectors. Beneath a Tourism Points of interest Improve Undertaking, a number of vacationer websites, together with Elmina Heritage Bay, Axim Fort St. Antonio, Assin Manso Slave River, Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, Bunso Arboretum, Kintampo Water Falls, are present process upgrades. A draft Legislative Instrument (LI) on Websites and Points of interest is at the moment present process last stakeholder consultations. This can guarantee world-class requirements are set and maintained in any respect our tourism websites and sights.

Mr. Speaker, the best attraction of our nation is its folks. Sure, now we have castles and forts, now we have water falls and dramatic mountain ranges, now we have breath-taking seashores, and historic websites that cut back guests to sturdy feelings, however it’s the folks of Ghana and our welcoming angle which might be the strongest attraction to guests. We should always always remember that all of us have a duty to make guests to our nation really feel welcome. On this “Yr of Return”, when now we have invited the world to go to, I might urge every one in every of us to make a particular effort to make a go to to our nation a memorable one. Our music, our meals, our garments and the quintessential akwaaba smile will make a customer to our nation come again time and again.

Mr Speaker, however there are issues that many people do that may delay any customer from visiting our nation, regardless of how engaging the geography or the historical past may be. I refer, particularly, to a few of our sanitation habits.

Mr Speaker, public assets have to be channelled into ventures that generate wealth, and never spent on avoidable expenditures. The price of clearing and cleansing up our cities and cities after those that litter has turn into prohibitive. The littering behavior appears to be extra predominant within the cities and concrete areas, and, mercifully, largely absent within the villages.

Final yr, I reiterated earlier than you my pledge of bettering sanitation within the nation, and making Accra the cleanest metropolis in Africa, by the top of my time period. There was a big enchancment in sanitation, despite the fact that, I acknowledge, extra may be performed. Nevertheless, that is at the moment the state of play. We have now witnessed a rise within the protection of stable waste administration, from 16.6% to 53%, and, over the course of final yr, thirty-five thousand, eight hundred and sixty-two (35,862) family bogs had been constructed, versus one thousand, 600 and ninety-eight (1,698) in 2016. We are going to intensify efforts at making Accra a clear metropolis.

In 2019, other than persevering with with educating and sensitizing folks, we intend to make use of the bye-laws to implement cleanliness. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Sanitation are working collectively to strive sanitation offences. Individuals who litter could be tried and punished, and so would those that steal litter bins from our streets.

We’re launching a Nationwide Sanitation Brigade to assist us carry this out, and, by way of this automobile, we is not going to solely hold our cities and cities clear, however may even present jobs for our younger folks. As soon as waste is correctly and effectively managed, we then can discover easy methods to use the waste collected to advance the financial system of our nation.

A cursory go searching our cities and cities would present us that plastic filth is our greatest downside. We intend to unravel this downside by way of the internationally acknowledged priorities of waste: discount first, adopted by reuse, recycle, restoration and, lastly, disposal, which is to be prevented every time potential.

Authorities has ready a Plastics Administration Coverage, with the overarching goal of assembly the challenges of complete plastics administration. About 82% of Ghana’s plastics waste could possibly be readily recovered and recycled with current applied sciences into value-addition merchandise in excessive demand domestically and throughout the West African area.

A vibrant recycling business in Ghana may get better almost a million tonnes of waste plastics from the atmosphere and landfills yearly, to be recycled into basic-need merchandise valued at GH¢2 billion per yr, creating many roles throughout the financial system. At present, intensive discussions are being concluded with buyers on essentially the most sustainable choices obtainable to rid Ghana of this plastic filth menace.

Mr Speaker, we’re additionally tackling the issue of digital waste head on. On August 20, 2018, I launched the Nationwide E-waste Program to mark the graduation of two key provisions of the Hazardous and Digital Waste Management and Administration Act, Act 917.

These provisions empower the Exterior Service Supplier (SGS) to confirm, assess and accumulate the advance recycle eco charge on all electrical and digital tools from all exporting nations, and likewise to ascertain a state-of-the-art recycling facility at Agbogbloshie, whose development will start in April. Not solely would we clear up the issue of waste disposal in an environmentally-friendly method, organising the recycling facility will result in the creation of over twenty thousand (20,000) direct jobs, by way of the institution of related holding centres in every regional capital and assortment centres in every district.

Mr Speaker, it’s unlucky that, in 2019, we nonetheless need to revisit this subject, however, open defecation can’t be a attribute of a rustic that’s working to be remodeled economically and to be counted amongst the developed nations of the world. That’s the reason it’s completely crucial that we make a hit of our One Home-One-Rest room Coverage.

The Group Led Whole Sanitation (CLTS) Programme is being applied in over 4 thousand, 5 hundred (4,500) communities in 100 and thirty (130) districts to realize Open Defecation Free (ODF) Communities.

Mr. Speaker, inexpensive and dependable vitality is completely crucial to realising our imaginative and prescient of financial transformation. I’m glad to announce that gasoline manufacturing tripled in the course of the yr, from 100 to 300 million cubic toes per day. The Ministry of Power is enterprise steps to take away the transmission bottlenecks, to make sure that Ghanaian gasoline can attain energy crops situated within the japanese a part of the nation, and I’m assured that, by August this yr, the state of affairs would have been totally remedied to make sure Ghana makes use of domestically produced gasoline for the majority of its thermal energy technology, saving substantial quantities of overseas alternate on imported fuels.

Authorities is dedicated to reaching an electrical energy technology combine that ensures variety and safety of vitality provide. For that reason, we are going to proceed to advertise the deployment of renewable vitality in step with our coverage goal of 10% renewables within the vitality combine from the present 1%.

One other justification for renewable vitality is that, regardless of Ghana’s extra electrical energy technology capability, we are able to nonetheless not obtain our common entry goal as a result of there are a lot of Ghanaian communities, particularly these on islands and lake sides, that can’t be reached by way of the nationwide grid. For instance, there are at the moment 200 (200) island and two thousand (2,000) lake aspect communities that require mini-grids from renewable sources to satisfy their vitality wants.

To scale back authorities’s expenditure on utilities, and likewise promote the usage of solar energy for presidency and public buildings, the Ministry of Power initiated the Photo voltaic Rooftop Programme. The Ministry is main by instance with the set up of a 65-kilowatt photo voltaic rooftop system at its premises.

Jubilee Home may even be powered, as from August this yr, by photo voltaic vitality, for instance to different public establishments. In truth, authorities’s goal is to put in as much as 200 megawatts of distributed solar energy by 2030 in each residential and non-residential amenities to be able to cut back Authorities’s liabilities to ECG (PDS Ghana Ltd).

Renewable vitality has additionally turn into a obligatory addition to our vitality sector as a result of it has more and more turn into cheaper, and is vital to the implementation of our worldwide obligations beneath Sustainable Growth Objective 7, on entry to inexpensive, dependable, and sustainable vitality, in addition to Sustainable Growth Objective 13, on pressing motion to fight local weather change.

There was excellent news with the latest announcement by Aker Power of one of many greatest oil finds in Africa. Mr Speaker, this has led me to assume that an NPP authorities have to be good for Ghana. After many, a few years of our wanting and nearly giving up, it took an NPP authorities to find oil in 2007. In eight years of NDC administration, 13 oil block offers had been signed, and never a single one was developed. The primary one signed in 2017, beneath my authorities, which was Aker, has led to the second greatest oil discovery in Africa. Sufficient to make a believer of anybody, I’d say.

Mr Speaker, there isn’t a avoiding the truth that the oil business, sadly, has a fame for corruption. For the reason that discovery of oil in our nation, there was heightened nervousness among the many those who we don’t fall into the identical entice of the oil cash benefitting particular person officers to the detriment of the state and most of the people.

On the struggle in opposition to corruption within the oil business, and to help transparency, now we have established a Nationwide Register of Contracts on which all of the Petroleum Agreements signed by the Authorities have been revealed. This supplies a platform for residents to scrutinize the oil contracts signed by authorities, and accords with the worldwide name for contract transparency.

We have now additionally handed the Normal Petroleum Laws, which give for the disclosure of useful possession info of corporations working in Ghana’s oil and gasoline business. This can make sure that folks don’t cover within the shadows to acceptable oil blocks to themselves, on the expense of the residents of Ghana. The curiosity of main oil corporations in Ghana has turn into dramatic. At this time, oil corporations such because the American large, ExxonMobil, and the Norwegian conglomerate, Aker, have signed petroleum exploration agreements with Ghana. By the launch of the “GHANA OIL AND GAS LICENSING ROUNDS 2018”, the bidding course of for the allocation of latest petroleum rights to potential buyers, the primary such train in our historical past, different international gamers similar to BP, China Nationwide Offshore Oil Company, and Whole have expressed curiosity in coming to Ghana.

Mr Speaker, be it within the oil business or manufacturing or retail, daily demonstrates the pressing want for our personal companies to develop and flourish. We have now put in place the mechanisms to coach younger entrepreneurs and to assist established companies with a stimulus bundle to broaden their corporations.

Beneath the Presidential Assist programme, one thousand, 300 and fifty (1,350) start-ups and small companies have benefitted from a particular authorities enterprise help programme. Beneficiaries obtained between ten thousand (GH¢10,000) and 100 thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢100,000) every, at a particular rate of interest of 10%, as a substitute of the common prevailing market fee of 26%.

That is designed to assist develop and broaden their companies, and can create about thirty thousand (30,000) direct jobs. Eighteen thousand (18,000) jobs have already been created beneath this programme. That is the primary time in Ghana’s historical past that there was a deliberate, systematic and coherent nationwide help for start-ups and small companies.

Companies, which benefitted, included agribusiness and agro-processing, info communication and know-how, tourism and recreation, sanitation and waste administration, well being, meals and drinks, inexperienced and ecological companies, sports activities and actual property

Already established companies are additionally receiving assist, with an quantity of 200 and thirty million Ghana cedis (GH¢230 million) being disbursed amongst sixteen (16) corporations beneath the stimulus bundle. This has led to the creation of eight thousand, 5 hundred (8,500) to 10 thousand (10,000) direct and oblique jobs.

Proof, if some had been wanted that we’re getting one thing proper, and producing the suitable ambiance to draw overseas enterprise, has include the announcement that three main worldwide car producers, Volkswagen, Nissan and Sinotruck have signed MOUs to ascertain assembling crops in our nation. Renault can also be conducting feasibility research on establishing an meeting plant in Ghana, as is Toyota. We are going to outside, in March, the Nationwide Automotive Coverage spelling out the phrases, situations and incentive bundle for collaborating in Ghana’s new car business, which may even apply to indigenous automobile meeting corporations.

Mr Speaker, our native textile business has been struggling for years, and plenty of textile corporations have, certainly, gone beneath. We have now determined to provide it a significant stimulus to assist put it on a powerful footing. The native textile business has, subsequently, been granted a zero-rated VAT on the availability of locally-made textiles for a interval of three years. We have now put in place a tax stamp regime for each domestically manufactured and imported textiles to handle the problem of pirated designs and logos within the textile commerce. The Tema Port has been designated as a Single-Entry Hall for the importation of textile prints, with a textile taskforce in place to make sure efficient compliance, and cut back, if not eradicate, smuggling of imported textiles. A brand new textile import administration system has been instituted, additionally, to manage imports of textiles.

Mr. Speaker, the “One-District-One-Manufacturing facility” coverage has taken off, and 79 factories beneath the scheme are at numerous phases of operation or development. One other 35 are going by way of credit score appraisal. All instructed, there’s numerous exercise occurring beneath the scheme, and it has awoken the curiosity of younger folks to enter manufacturing enterprise. Beneath the Rural Enterprises Programme, funded by the African Growth Financial institution and the Worldwide Fund for Agricultural Growth, 50 small-scale processing factories will likely be established by the top of the yr in 50 districts throughout the nation, significantly in areas the place there’s proof of serious post-harvest losses. These will likely be owned and managed by organized youth teams, with technical help from the Ministry of Commerce and Business.

Mr Speaker, small and medium scale enterprises kind the bottom of companies in our nation, and financing has been the bane of their operations. MASLOC was established in 2006 to satisfy a crucial want by offering the kind of small-scale loans wanted by these small-scale enterprises at affordable charges. Sadly, MASLOC was undermined by base political issues and endemic corruption, and the centre was nearly run down utterly.

I’m glad to report that MASLOC has been revamped, and is getting again to do what it was set as much as do. There was strict adherence to credit score procedures and prudent administration of the credit score restoration course of. These have resulted in a restoration fee of 89% of loans administered beneath a pilot scheme launched in 2017.

MASLOC was given an quantity of thirty-five million Ghana cedis (GH¢35 million) in October 2018 for disbursement. That is the primary time an quantity of such magnitude has been given to the Centre outdoors of an election yr. Of the thirty-five million Ghana cedis that had been obtained, the Centre has disbursed twenty million, 5 hundred and sixty-three thousand, 100 Ghana cedis (GH¢20,563,100), with fourteen million, 300 and seventeen thousand, 200 Ghana cedis (GH¢14,317,200) to be disbursed for pending purposes, which have been authorised. Thus far, 87% of the monies disbursed have gone to ladies, i.e. to twenty-four thousand, 5 hundred and eighty-two (24,582) ladies. The 2016 NPP Manifesto promised to allocate 50% of MASLOC funds to ladies, and now we have surpassed this promise.

It has clearly been seen that attention-grabbing issues are taking place on the efficiently restructured MASLOC, and that’s the reason the Centre was allotted an quantity of 200 million Ghana cedis (GH¢ 200 million) within the 2019 finances. Such an quantity is unprecedented within the historical past of MASLOC. In 2019, MASLOC will give elevated consideration to youth start-up companies in vegetable farming, poultry, piggery and fish farming.

Mr Speaker, the incidence of dangerous governance strategies that just about collapsed MASLOC has, sadly, affected the operating of many companies usually and the monetary sector particularly. The banking sector has gone by way of what can solely be described as a traumatic upheaval.

Once more, Mr Speaker the woes of the banking sector have additionally been a case of long-standing dangerous practices that we, beforehand, had been unable or unwilling to take care of, which we at the moment are having to take care of in essentially the most painful method. The clean-up has value the nationwide treasury GH¢12.7 billion, cash we are able to sick afford, however which was essential to sanitise the sector, minimise job losses, and defend deposits of 1 million, 100 and forty-seven thousand, 300 and sixty-six (1,147,366) Ghanaians and their companies and the folks they employed. The banking sector has emerged stronger from these developments, and impressed confidence in it. In all this, I’ve been anxious that our native banks are helped and given as a lot help as potential, which has been performed, however l is not going to be on the aspect of felony behaviour if that’s found. I might urge that we’re all affected person for the investigations to be made in a peaceful method.

And, whereas I’m as regards to rogue actions within the banking sector, it’s most likely the time to say the MenzGold debacle. It is a tragic phenomenon that seems to have occurred in plain sight, and affected lots of people, regardless of warnings from official establishments. Because the authorities attempt to unravel the intricacies of what occurred, I admonish all Ghanaians to be taught the required classes for the longer term, whilst State establishments work to carry a decision to the matter, and those that are seen to have indulged in felony actions, are delivered to justice. Final week, I inaugurated the Presidential Monetary Stability Advisory Council, an inter-institutional consultative coordination physique, which teams collectively all of the regulators of our monetary system, and whose goal is to advise the President on the measures to be taken to protect the soundness of the monetary system. The existence of such a physique would have forestalled the emergence of the Menzgold saga, and can make it tough, in future, for any such scheme to get off the bottom.

Mr Speaker, throughout instances like these of banking and enterprise upheavals, agriculture seems much more engaging. It’s extra predictable and the soil and crops and animals much more dependable than sharp figures. The previous two years have proven that, when a authorities takes deliberate measures to help agriculture, it pays wholesome dividends.

There was meals and for the primary time in a protracted whereas, we had greater than we would have liked. It was not that way back that Ghana was within the humiliating place of getting to import maize from her landlocked Sahelian neighbours and plantain from Cote d’Ivoire. Due to the programme for “Planting for Meals and Jobs”, admirably organised by that excellent Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, this Home stands knowledgeable, that, in 2018, exports of meals crops similar to cassava, rice, yellow and white maize, soya, plantain, cowpea and yam had been made FROM Ghana to Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire in appreciable portions. We had a bumper harvest of produce, and, final yr, we didn’t import a single grain of maize.

Primarily based on the successes chalked in 2017 after which in 2018, the Ministry took large strides to scale up the Planting for Meals and Jobs Marketing campaign in 2019, and to introduce new modules of the programme. 4 of such new modules are the Greenhouse Villages programme, the Planting for Export and Rural Growth (PERD) programme, the Rearing for Meals and Jobs (RFJ) marketing campaign and Mechanisation Facilities programme.

We hope that success will result in a elementary change in attitudes in direction of farming practices, and the sector will likely be actually remodeled. Bumper harvests and elevated meals manufacturing, on the whole, could be the norm, and never a shock infrequently. Extension companies will likely be expanded, and our farmers can have the arrogance to know that theirs is a worthwhile enterprise from which they’ll and can get wholesome remuneration and respect.

Mr Speaker, this yr the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Growth plans to implement a flagship programme – “Aquaculture for Meals and Jobs” (AFJ) – complementary to the “Planting for Meals and Jobs” initiative – to reinvigorate and increase the aquaculture business. Precedence will likely be given to youth entrepreneurs, distressed farmers, second cycle and public establishments to arrange and function fish farms throughout the nation.

The programme will supply collaborating people and teams the requisite inputs, similar to cages, fingerlings, fish feed and coaching, to have the ability to set up their very own farms. The AFJ will likely be applied for 3 years, from 2019 to 2021, in collaboration with the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) and the College Feeding Programme. It’s anticipated to create seven thousand (7,000) jobs, and add an additional thirty-three thousand, 600 and twenty-eight (33,628) metric tonnes of fish to our home fish manufacturing. Piloting of the AFJ has already began on the James Camp Jail.

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