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Ken Ofori-Atta is a ‘national asset’ – Nana Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has hailed the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, as “a national asset”, as he outlined Ghana’s progress on the economic front during his State of the Nation address.

A little over a year into the New Patriotic Party’s four-year term, President Akufo-Addo affirmed that his government’s economic management team’s hard work was beginning “to show positive results.”

The President’s touting of the economy, especially at the mention of the Finance Minister’s name, during his address, was met with jeers from the Minority National Democratic Congress MPs, who have continued to pile pressure on Mr. Ofori Atta over alleged malfeasance in the issuance of the $2.25 billion bond in April 2017.

As evidence of the progress of the economy, President Akufo-Addo cited the strong trajectory of the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index in January 2018, which gained 19 percent in dollar terms, according to benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg.

The World Bank has also projected that Ghana’s economy will probably grow by 8.3 percent this year, which will be the fastest in the world in 2018.

The President expects these improving macroeconomic indicators to usher Ghana out of the International Monetary Fund programme later this year after his administration extended the 2015 programme.

“The good macroeconomic performance in 2017 will strongly support our successful completion of the IMF programme. We are determined to put in place measures to ensure irreversibility and sustained macroeconomic stability so that we will have no reason to seek again the assistance of that powerful global body.”

Ghana on the right track

Beyond the strong economic indicators, President Nana Akufo-Addo said his economic management team had found imaginative ways to deal with the “oppressive debt situation” bringing relief to the country and rebuild the “annual average rate of debt accumulation as reduced from a high of 36 percent to 13.6 percent as at September 2017.”

“As a result of appropriate policy and the normalization of power situation in the country, [we]  have also engineered a spectacular revival of Ghanaian industry from a growth rate of negative 0.5 percent in 2016, to 17.5 percent in 2017,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo was however keen to stress that, the gains made on the economy from did not mean Ghana was out of the woods.

“I do not suggest in any way that these headline grabbing-figures mean we are anywhere near resolving our economic problems. I am saying, to borrow the language of the economist, that for the first time in a long while, our macroeconomic fundamentals are solid and all the critical indices are pointing in the right direction,” the President Stated.

Jabs at NDC government

Like in his 2017 address, President Akufo-Addo’s figures on the progress of the economy were used to take subtle jibes at the Mahama administration, and the state that it left the economy in 2016.

The President noted that, gains made in the economy over the past year included reduced inflation, increased economic growth, rising GDP by up to 7.9 percent, and an increase in Ghana’s international reserves.

He added that, almost half of the arrears inherited from the Mahama administration have been paid “and crucially, we are current with obligations to statutory funds.”

Other achievements cited by the President included the doubled capitation grant, the return of nurse and teacher trainee allowances, and he added that his government continued “to confound the skeptics and professional naysayers, we have implemented Free Senior High School Education.”

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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