Thursday, 16 February 2012

State of the nation address

In his election-year State of the Nation address, President Mills enumerated a long list of economic achievements, many of which centered on macro-economic stability and growth.

He said, for three years that he has been president, the country has moved in the right direction in accordance with the NDC manifesto, despite internal and external constraints.

With latent pride, President Mills told Parliament that, under his watch, Ghana recorded the highest ever growth rate in the annals of the nation’s history with a provisional growth rate approaching 14%.

The country, he said, also recorded the most sustained single digit rates of inflation in decades, with the rate of inflation of 8.55% for 2011 being the lowest in 42 years since 1970.

As at the end of September (2011), the president said, the budget deficit was 2% of GDP as compared to 14.5% of GDP in 2008.

“The credit belongs to all Ghanaians and to the Government as the direct managers of the economy as well as Parliament as its monitors” he stated.

He said the achievements recorded have resulted in an increase in investor confidence in Ghana, which reflect in a significant increase in foreign direct investment.

President Mills disclosed that a recent report published by the Ghana Investments Promotion Center show an increase in projects registered at the GIPC amounting to over $7billion in foreign direct investment.

“Even though we have experienced internal and external constraints, we have reason to be hopeful of Ghana’s future. Notwithstanding the global economic uncertainties, this administration has continued to make progress in the management of the national economy” the president told the august House.

President Mills disclosed that Ghana earned $444 million in oil revenue in the past year and pledged his administration’s continuous commitment to make full disclosure of earnings and lifting of oil from the shores of the country.

On education, President Mills said Accra is bringing an end to the school shift system which has been a drawback in the fight for quality education.

“Several classroom structures have been constructed, providing accommodation for hundreds of pupils who now benefit from a full day classroom teaching. Contracts for the construction of over 1,700 classroom blocks for schools under trees have been awarded throughout the country”, he said.

On completion, President Mills said, the 4,320 schools under trees that existed in 2009 would be reduced by about 40%.

President Mills promised “We are on course to eradicating the schools under trees phenomenon. We have distributed over 3 million school uniforms to needy pupils nationwide. This means that with a basic school population of about 5.2 million, we have supplied school uniforms to three out of every five children in basic school".

He said, under the NDCs free exercise books scheme, over 40 million exercise books have been supplied to all pupils in basic public schools.

On the average, he stated, eight exercise books have been supplied to each pupil per year in both 2010 and 2011.

Infrastructure development also featured prominently in the address. “We have done a lot in terms of road infrastructure. Tetteh-Quarshie is 80% complete, Achimota-Ofankor 80%, Madina-Pantang 45% complete, Kumasi-Techiman road completed”, he told the House.

Once again, the president acknowledged the role of his predecessor, Kuffuor, in the construction of the motorway extension/Mallam Junction highway, saying “NPP procured the money for the Mallam-Tetteh Quarshie highway and we constructed it, so the value is the same”.

Meanwhile, reaction to the president’s address, themed “Still Building a Better Ghana Agenda”, has been varied”. 


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