The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the performance of the Ghanaian economy in 2017, is a vindication of the decision taken to appoint 110 Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State.
“The question that we should ask is how can you inherit a budget deficit of 9.3% of GDP, proceed to reduce taxes, bring down inflation, bring down interest rates, increase economic growth (from 3.6% to 7.9%), increase your international reserves, maintain relative exchange rate stability, reduce the debt to GDP ratio and the rate of debt accumulation, pay almost half of arrears inherited, stay current on obligations to statutory funds, restore teacher and nursing training allowances, double the capitation grant, implement free senior high school education and yet still be able to reduce the fiscal deficit from 9.3% to an estimated 5.6% of GDP? Quite simple, this is a remarkable achievement and this is what we mean by competent economic management.”
It is this competence coupled with integrity in the conduct of public transactions, ensuring value-for-money, protecting the public purse, President Akufo-Addo added, “that are going to bring the dream of a happy and prosperous Ghana, a Ghana Beyond Aid, quickly within our grasp.”
The President made this known on Wednesday, 17th January, 2017, at a media encounter to mark his 1st year in office, at an event held at the Flagstaff House.
With Free SHS now a reality, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the first batch of students to be enrolled under the scheme has finished one term, and gone back to school after the Christmas break.
“If it has taken the introduction of Free SHS to encourage media and other commentators to find the many problems that bedevil our schools, I simply take it as one more reason to cheer the Free SHS,” he said.
The President assured that Government shall work systematically to solve the problems, not just of the Senior High Schools, but from the Kindergartens to the Junior High Schools as well.
“We shall put greater emphasis on technical, agricultural and vocational training, and skills training in general. We have no choice but to educate and train our workforce to match the needs of the modern economy,” he said.
This, he said, is only possible if the country prioritizes and accelerates the development and application of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), and also develops the capacity to design and manufacture machines, parts and tools for ourselves.
“The two Ministries of Education and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) are working together to step up the development and application of appropriate technologies to solve the variety of problems that confront us at this stage of our country’s development,” he said.
The President continued, “This is to be supported with a national strategy to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education throughout our educational system, and stimulate the interest of our pupils and students, especially girls, in Science, Technology and Innovation.”
On the issue of gender parity, he noted that “I am still working to achieve gender parity, or, at least, reach the percentage promised in the NPP Manifesto. In the meantime, I wish to encourage all to support the HeForShe Campaign to help us achieve SDG Goal 5.”