President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed the commitment of his government to preserve the reputation of Ghana as a democratic, peaceful and stable country.
He said it was the only way to inspire confidence in the economy to the rest of the world.
The President gave the assurance at the annual diplomatic new year greetings ceremony at the Jubilee House in Accra last Tuesday.
“We continue to consolidate our reputation as a democratic, peaceful and stable country and I assure you that my government will continue to do everything possible to preserve this hard-won reputation to inspire confidence in our country and its economy,” he stated.
In that regard, President Akufo-Addo said: “We have, through the implementation of the government’s coordinated programmes for economic and social development policy, sought to create the conditions necessary to make our country an attractive investment destination.”
“We have also restored discipline in the management of the economy; we have guaranteed access to education and health care for all and we are becoming increasingly self-sufficient in the production of food,” he told the diplomats.
That, according to the President, was a determination to show that Ghana could emulate the successes of others and emerge as a modern prosperous nation, noting that that could be achieved through the disciplined management of public finances, which he described as an important element in constructing the platform for prosperity.
“That is why we have recently enacted a law to cap the fiscal deficit at a maximum of five per cent, to be accompanied by a commitment to ensure that the debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio does not exceed five per cent of GDP.
“It is time that the disarray in our public finances that has led us on 17 separate occasions to go to the IMF, beginning from the era of President Kwame Nkrumah to the most recent one in March 2015, under President John Mahama, was brought to an end, so that we do not have to resort to the aid of the IMF,” President Akufo-Addo said.
This year, he said, the government would intensify the implementation of its flagship programmes such as the One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative and roll out a comprehensive infrastructural project.
He told the diplomatic community that a two-decade-old chieftaincy crisis in Dagbon in the Northern Region, which threatened the peace and stability of the area and the nation, had been resolved with the enskinment of a new Overlord of Dagbon, Yaa Naa Mahama Abukari II.
He expressed the confidence that the pursuance of reconciliation by Yaa Naa Abukari would be the harbinger of accelerated growth and prosperity for the area and the nation at large.
On Ghana’s relations with the rest of the world, President Akufo-Addo said he was committed to the objectives of Ghana’s foreign policy, which is founded on the values of respect for individual liberties and human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability.
He expressed delight at the visits by many foreign dignitaries to the country last year and said those visits resulted in the signing of several memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on investment cooperation between Ghana and the respective countries.
He mentioned, for instance, the visit by the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to Ghana, which resulted in the signing of an agreement between Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and Volkswagen of Germany to establish a vehicle assembling plant in Ghana to serve the West African market.
“The decision by Sino Truck of China, Nissan of Japan and Siemens to set up shops in Ghana also signifies the positive outcomes of our relations with the global investment community,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo used the occasion to invite the diplomatic community to the commemoration of the “Year of Return” to be hosted in the country this year to symbolise the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first West African slaves in the USA.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, for her part, said Ghana witnessed the expansion of its diplomatic reach from Africa to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America, resulting in the establishment of three resident diplomatic missions at the ambassadorial level in Kuwait City in Kuwait, Doha in Qatar and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates last year.
“Our newest mission in Oslo, Norway, is now open, while preparations are advanced to operationalise two consulate generals in Guanzhou, China, and Port Louis in Mauritius this year,” she said.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps
The Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Mr Bernard Ehui Kotoan, was happy about the stability Ghana continued to enjoy under President Akufo-Addo and commended him for his role in the fight against corruption, as well as for efforts at arresting smuggling and other unwarranted practices in the sub-region.
He lauded the collaboration between the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Samira Bawumia, to deal with child trafficking in the region.
The diplomatic new year greetings is an annual event which affords diplomatic missions in the country the opportunity to exchange greetings and interact with the President.