Nana Addo’s 1st SONA was delivered on the floor of Ghana’s Parliament on Tuesday, 21st February, 2017.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution which states that: “The President shall, at the beginning of each session of Parliament and before a dissolution of Parliament, deliver a message on the state of the nation”.
Before going ahead with deliver the main points as regards the nation’s economic condition, the President gave out some introductory notes.
He recognised some old faces in the House such as the 2nd Deputy Speaker, Hon. Alban Bagbin and Majority Leader, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu whom he said he met during his days as a Member of Parliament.
Nana 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 1st 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”
Continuing, President Akufo-Addo congratulated the Speaker of Parliament and his deputies, Hon. Joe Osei Wusu, and Hon. Alban Bagbin respectively for their new positions. He also extended his congratulations to the majority and minority leaders; adding that Haruna Iddrisu has a good future in Ghanaian politics.
The President pledged his cooperation to both sides of the house to get Ghana going on the path of progress and prosperity.
He further commended the Electoral Commission (EC) for ensuring a free and fair elections, pointing out that they will be equipped to do better in coming years.
President Nana Akufo-Addo condemned the acts of lawlessness perpetrated by party (NPP) supporters after the transition of powers, saying that “wrongdoing has no political colour”. He however pointed out that both the past and present Inspectors General of Police brought the matter under control following his instructions. He sternly warned against a repeat of such misconduct while pointing specific fingers at the NPP and NDC.
Making reference to the speed with which he is setting up his administrative crew, the President stated categorically that he is in a hurry.
“…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.
Nana Addo’s 1st SONA – The Economy
- Virtually all the 2015 IMF programme targets which include to restore fiscal discipline, debt sustainability and increase economic growth were all missed as at December, 2016.
- Total projected expenditure for 2016 was GH¢43.9 billion (26% of GDP), but actual expenditure amounted to GH¢50.3 billion (30.2% of GDP).
- The GH¢7 billion of arrears and outstanding payments is currently being audited.
- 2016 total revenue target was GH¢37.9 billion (22.7% of GDP), but the actual revenue came in at GH¢33.2 billion (19.9% of GDP).
- Fiscal deficit for 2016 was 9% of GDP on a cash basis and 10.2% of GDP on a commitment basis, hence no improvement recorded with the IMF deal since fiscal deficit was standing at 10.2% prior to the programme.
- Ghana’s debt stock currently stands at 74% of GDP.
- 92% of Ghana’s total debt stock was incurred by the previous government in the last eight years which is more than all other governments put together since independence!
- Ghana’s total revenue is currently being consumed by three main budgetary lines: wages and salaries, interest payments and amortization and statutory payments; amounting to 99.6% of government revenue.
- The implication of this is that government has to borrow in other to carry out any project other that the three expenditures mentioned above.
- Ghana’s GDP growth in 2016 (including oil) is estimated at 3.6% – the lowest ever recorded in about 23 years.
- Economic and Financial data from the Central Bank show that non-performing loans have risen from 11.2% in May 2015 to 17.3% in December 2016.
Nevertheless, President Akufo-Addo promised never to allow the economy to collapse under his watch, stating that the fiscal deficit will significantly be reduced this year. He said that his government is going to implement some “tough, prudent and innovative policies” in order to rescue the economy.
Nana Addo’s 1st SONA however, is not a presentation of a detailed analysis of the state of the economy. The President said that a more detailed analysis will be taken care of in the 2017 budget statement to be delivered by the Finance Minister on the 2nd of March.