President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Thursday, delivering his third State of the Nation Address to Parliament, rendered an upbeat assessment of the performance of his Government, declaring, “We have our challenges but the nation is in good health”.
“The economy is at the heart of all we seek to do, it is the success of the economy that will guarantee an improvement in the quality of the life of our people.”
“I believe we are all now in agreement that the fundamentals have to be sound if the economy is to flourish”.
In an hour-plus-35-minutes-account, delivered, with his signature eloquence, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had caught the eye of the world as the destination for investment, owing to the sound socio-economic policies, good economic indicators and the prospect of a positive outlook for years to come.
The policies, the President noted, were yielding the desired results, leading to the international investment community’s preference for Ghana as the destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
These happenings would lend boost to the economy and provide jobs and prosperity for the people, he said.
The President pointed out that the country’s economy in the past two years had picked up very strongly, with GDP growing from 3.4% in 2016, to 8.1% in 2017.
“In 2018, the provisional data for the first three quarters indicate a strong real GDP growth of 6.0%, higher than the annual target of 5.6%. Real GDP growth for 2019 is forecast at 7.6%. Ghana’s recent GDP growth has placed it amongst the highest in the world”.
Fiscal deficit, he said, had been reined in from the 7.3% of rebased GDP in 2016 to a provisional 3.9% of GDP at the end of 2018, with the debt-to-GDP ratio declining from the 56.6% of GDP in 2016 to 54.8% at the end of 2018.
“With inflation dropping from 15.4%, at the end of 2016 to nine per cent in January this year, the lowest recorded in six years, interest rates are declining, reducing further the Bank of Ghana’s Monetary Policy Rate.
“Our trade balance account, for the first time in more than a decade, recorded a surplus in 2017, and is expected to remain in surplus.
“In May 2018, a US$2 billion Eurobond was issued for 30 and 10 years of US$1 billion each with coupon rates of 8.627% and 7.625% respectively, and these were the lowest rate and the longest maturity in our history, signifying confidence in the economy.
“It comes as no surprise, therefore, that, today, Ghana is the leading recipient of Foreign Direct Investment in West Africa.
“Mr Speaker, these are good figures, and as we prepare to exit from the IMF programme in April, we expect the impressive figures and good performance to continue
“We are very much aware that this is not the first time we have had such a good set of figures, but we are determined to do things differently this time around; we have imposed on ourselves fiscal discipline, we are paying off legacy debts and deepening good governance practices and business confidence is growing.
“We will maintain the discipline, and bring progress to our country… I am bent on running a responsible administration, mindful of the next generation, and not, merely, the next election”.
The President also addressed a wide-range of issues highlighting programmes and interventions on Energy, Health, Education, Sanitation, Employment, Science and Technology and Governance, aimed at improving the lot of Ghanaians.