General News of Thursday, 4 October 2018
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the last 21 months of his administration has been inspiring, adding that his government has impacted the lives of Ghanaians positively in every part of the country.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “We have shown, over the last 21 months that the destiny of Ghana is safe in our hands. We have proven, by all accounts, to be good managers of the Ghanaian economy, and we have made significant progress in all aspects of our nation’s life.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, when he addressed a conference held for the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives at the Institute of Local Government Service Campus, at Obgojo.
“Whether it is in the economy, where we have increased the GDP growth rate from 3.6% in 2016 to 8.5% in 2017, and have engineered a decline in inflation and interest rates; or in education, where we have implemented the Free Senior High School policy, which has enabled 270,000 more Ghanaian youths to access Senior High School, than they otherwise would have done,” the President said.
He noted that in health, his administration has revived the National Health Insurance Scheme, so that the NHIS card is, once again, meaningful; “or in agriculture, where we have instituted the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which ensured that, this year, we did not import a single grain of maize into the country.”
President Akufo-Addo added that his administration, through the reduction in utility tariffs, has brought relief to the Ghanaian people, and “spurring on business and industry, through significant reductions of utility tariffs, contrary to the experience of the previous 8 years which had witnessed systematic increases in utility tariffs.”
In spite of these modest successes, the president reminded the MMDCEs that “if you, who are gathered in this room, do not perform creditably in the next two years, then our best efforts will come to nought.”
President Akufo-Addo urged for effective partnership between Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies, which are in close proximity to each other and located in one functional geographical area, as they represent the best way to dealing with issues such as sanitation, transportation, disaster management and security, amongst others.
“Currently, such a system is being implemented in the Accra Metropolitan Area. Together, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, and some municipal assemblies in Accra are working to deal with the vexed issue of sanitation. This collaboration has achieved significant results so far. The heaps of rubbish that were once permanent features in the assemblies in question are no longer in existence,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo urged the MMDCEs to also pay particular attention and help in the effective delivery of our flagship programmes such as Free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs, and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme, which is providing the equivalent of one million dollars per constituency to finance capital expenditure for infrastructure and other facilities in the localities.
“The challenge is very much for you to take advantage of these programmes to bring change to your districts. You have the opportunity, through these policies, to change your districts from places where people move from, to places where people move to, and I entreat you to help ensure the effective implementation and the sustainability of these flagship programmes in your districts, municipalities and metropolises,” he added.
The president noted further that a referendum to remove the entrenched clause of Article 55 of the Constitution to permit the direct popular election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives is one of the cards.
Additionally, the government is in the process of regional re-organisation to accommodate the popular demand for the creation of new regions to bring governance closer to the doorsteps of the people.
“If the people of Ghana endorse our quest to make governance at the local level more democratic, you should brace yourselves to face the electorate directly to account for your stewardship and justify your positions as the Chief Executive of the Metropolis, Municipality or District. I believe your performances in office should put you in good stead,” the President stressed.