During his inaugural speech on 7th January this year, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated, among other things, that as the Head of State, he would protect the public purse. President Akufo-Addo also indicated that he was in a hurry to fix the economy. Immediately after his inauguration, the President started putting together his government through Ministerial nominations for approval by parliament. Parliament also did well by quickly vetting and approving the nominations. Along the line, however, a section of Parliament, notably the minority, boycotted the vetting of the ministerial nominees on the grounds that they needed time to go to do some background checks in their constituencies. This meant holding back the clock of progress, seeing that the President had said he was in a hurry to fix the challenges facing the country. To be able to do this, he needed the full complement of his government.
Fortunately, those in the majority sacrificed to vet the rest of the nominees to make it possible for the President to have his team ready. The 2017 budget statement read on Thursday, 2nd March was described by the business community as business friendly and by economic and financial experts as growth-oriented. Due to the tax cuttings introduced in the budget, local airfares were slashed whilst prices of other goods and services also came down. Again, the prices of fertilizer was reduced because of government subsidy. Fuel prices in the country have started dropping in view of the removal of certain taxes on petroleum.
What is more, the Cedi has started gaining value against the major foreign currencies. All these show that so far measures taken to resolve Ghana’s problems have been good. Besides, the restoration of allowances for Nursing and Teacher Trainees as well as steps taken to employ a backlog of trained teachers and nurses who have completed their professional training are most welcome. Other achievements within the period under review include the introduction of the Zongo Development Fund meant to transform the zongo areas as well as the strengthening of bilateral relations between Ghana and other countries such as the United States, the UK and many others. Also, government’s resolve and declared intention to fight illegal mining known as “galamsey” which is threatening our water bodies and also degrading the environment are steps that deserve commendation by all. This means that so far things have moved on well as expected.
However, one issue that has threatened the goodwill enjoyed by the government is the unpleasant action taken by the vigilante group known as “The Delta Force.” Their actions have dented the image of government which stands for rule of law and good governance. In spite of this, the swiftness with which government and the security agencies have marshaled forces into the Kumasi metropolis to ensure that the culprits go through the judicial process for justice to take its natural course is quite encouraging and commendable. The non-interference in the judicial process has rekindled hope and confidence in the government, showing it’s committed and preparedness to affirm the rule of law in the country.
All in all, the Akufo-Addo government deserves a pat on the shoulder for a good work done so far, but the nation expects to see more action since the full complement of government is now in place.
BY KOFI AMPONSAH-BEDIAKO, HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY.