Listening to the long recount of the never-done-wells of the past administration as presented in Nana Addo’s first SONA, one may begin to wonder if the President mounted the platform to weep and wail…
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo while delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the Parliament on 21st February, noted that Ghanaians never elected him into office to busy himself with complaining about the poor state in which he found the country, especially the economy; but to have it fixed. The President made this statement after giving out specific facts about the deplorable state of Ghana’s economy.
Nana Addo’s first SONA revealed that the 92% of the total debt stock in the history of Ghana was incurred in the last eight years by the immediate past administration. According to the President, the previous government has left no fiscal space between the country’s revenue and expenditure; what is rather obtainable is a high fiscal deficit, with Ghana’s debt stock currently standing at 74% of the country’s GDP.
According to President Akufo-Addo, low growth, rising rate of unemployment, high fiscal deficits, high and rising debt, increased depreciation of the cedi, high cost of food, housing and utilities and high non-performing loans count among the very many factors that have put Ghana’s economy in its current state.
Highlighting all these overwhelming conditions of the economy which rather sounded like the President was complaining, Nana Addo rightly noted that he was not elected into office to nag but to correct the misconducts.
“I was not elected by the overwhelming majority of the Ghanaian people to complain. I was elected to get things done. I was elected to fix what is broken and my government and I are determined to do just that,” the President noted.
He promised that he will never allow the country to continue in its former ways which will eventually lead to a collapse, but will put in place rescue policies.
“We cannot continue this way with our public finances. I will not allow this economy to collapse under my watch. We will reduce significantly the fiscal deficit this year… We are going to have to implement some tough, prudent and innovative policies to get out of this financial cul-de sac and rescue this economy…,” he stated categorically.
Nana Addo’s first SONA however, is not a presentation of a detailed analysis of the state of the economy as well as his plans for bringing about the promised change. But the President said that the Finance Minister will present in the 2017 budget, details of government’s economic policy as well as its clear roadmap towards taking the country out of its current predicament onto a sustainable path of recovery, jobs creation and prosperity.
He expressed confidence in the programme, competence and commitment of his government to turn things around; adding that they will surely succeed in doing so by the grace of God.
Earlier on in his address, President Akufo-Addo lauded his victory in the December 7 elections, describing it as an emphatic one. He thanked God as well as Ghanaians for the peaceful transition of powers which was a reflection of true democracy worthy of emulation.
He also gave out special thanks to his predecessor, Former President John Mahama for his good conduct throughout the period which according to Nana Addo, is “a credit to our nation”.
The President went ahead to recognise the presence of former presidents John Kufuor and Jerry Rawlings who were in the House to witness Nana Addo’s first SONA. He also appreciated the fact that he will be drawing inspiration from three living presidents – a privilege he said is going to “enrich his tenure in office”
Making reference to claims that he is behaving like a man in a hurry regarding the speed with which he is setting up his administrative crew, the President admitted to actually being in a hurry saying,
“…I am, indeed, in a hurry, I am in a great hurry…”, he emphasized.
He noted that with the completion of the processes of the Council of State’s composition, all appointments will be conluded by the end of March. He also commended the Parliament for being very fast with the vetting and approval of his nominees, appealing that they do same with the rest he is yet to send to them.