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General News of Friday, 4 October 2019


10 things that have won Akufo-Addo the love of Ghanaians

The New Patriotic Party, led by then Flagbearer, Akufo-Addo, got Ghanaians very expectant with several promises during the 2016 campaign to improve the country and deal with its woes.

They were given a chance by Ghanaians and they kick-started some of these projects. Obviously, the response from the public was encouraging, and every other time they fulfilled a promise, the faith of Ghanaians somewhat increased.

The implementation, however, did not come without challenges, and as expected of right-thinking persons, there’s always a shove for more.

A few months and they’ll be clocking 3 years in office. There’s still a lot to be accomplished, and many more promises to be fulfilled but in this piece, takes a look at some decisions by the Akufo-Addo-led administration that has attracted applause from Ghanaians so far.

Free SHS

The Free Senior High School Policy implemented under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has earned the ruling government some points in the good books of Ghanaians.

Free SHS, as it is popularly called, is a Government of Ghana initiative introduced by the President Nana Akufo-Addo administration in September 2017. The policy had been a major campaign policy prior to the election of President Akufo-Addo in 2016.

The policy targeted at taking the financial burden off the shoulders of parents nationwide, has since its implementation, attracted the citizenry’s appreciation.

Despite having to make little financial contributions to the Parent Teacher Association and others, most parents are relieved they do not have to run around every academic year, scouting for means to pay their ward’s fees.

Like every other policy, it has not been void of challenges but the greater good has been considered mostly when the policy is talked about. In fact, it has become one of government’s most touted feats since it gained power.

A research conducted by the University of Ghana’s Political Science Department which focused on various sectors of governance and economy had 63.5% of the 5000 voters sampled endorsing the Free Senior High School [SHS] programme, making it one of the popular initiatives of the government.

Let’s see some endorsements of the programme from Ghanaians:

Momo Interoperability

In March 2017, Vice President, Dr. Bawumia commissioned the Mobile Money Interoperability Project and on May 10, 2018, he duly launched the Phase-One at the Marriot Hotel in Accra.

The service allows direct and seamless transfer of funds from one mobile money wallet to another across all networks and creates convenience for users.

The Phase-One of the Project saw the interconnection of the mobile money platforms and the Ghana National Switch (gh-link system), which made it possible for customers to send mobile money across networks and from mobile money wallet to bank account and vice versa.

The Ghana Interbank Payment System (GhIPSS) was tasked to lead the project together with three mobile money operators: MTN, Vodafone and Airtel/Tigo, as well as financial institutions.

Phase Two of the Mobile Money Interoperability platform was launched on November 28, 2019.

The launch of Phase two of the Interoperability platform concludes the Financial Inclusion Triangle, and ensures universal interoperability, making Ghana one of the few countries in the world to attain this feat.
The move earned the ruling government a good name in the hearts and minds of most Ghanaians.

Read some reactions from Ghanaians below:

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Paperless port system

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in May 2017, at a Port Efficiency Conference in Accra, announced three-point policy directives aimed at improving Ghana’s Port sector.

That the Ports of Ghana should go 100 percent paperless, all customs barriers should be removed from Ghana’s transit corridor and that there should be Mandatory Joint Inspection at the Ports.

These directives were aimed at improving the competitiveness of the ports and businesses in the country.

Among these, the paperless policy was aimed at improving the clearance procedures at the Ports of Ghana by eliminating delays and transforming Ghana’s Ports to ‘Smart Ports’. This was also to improve ports efficiency for accelerated national development.

It was the expectation of the Vice President that goods should be cleared from the Ports within 4 hours, with this new initiative.
The move so far has resulted in major improvements in trade transactions, helped remove human error from all trade transactions at the ports while strengthening Ghana’s economic competitiveness.

The implementation of the Paperless Port policy phase two, among other things, also reduced the cost of doing business by 75 per cent, attracting mass applause by Ghanaians.

See how some Ghanaians reacted to this new initiative:

Special Prosecutor’s Office

A special Prosecutor’s Office tasked with the sole mandate of investigating and prosecuting public officials was announced by the President and Vice President in 2017.

In June 2017, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice Gloria Akuffo presented the first draft of the Office of the Special Prosecutor bill to stakeholders to pore over government's 'important' anti-corruption legislation.

She told participants at a meeting in Accra, government wants their honest and sincere views on the draft before it is laid before parliament later that year.

Subsequently, the bill was put before Parliament for consideration and passage.
Amidst massive opposition, the bill was finally passed by parliament in November 2017.

Ghanaians endorsed the move by government, many praising government for taking bold steps towards achieving its pledge of ridding the country of corruption.

Recent times however have seen people questioning and demanding measurable work from the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, whom they say has done very little to help his office.

Check out some of the tweets below:

Nation Builders Corps

The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) Programme was introduced by the Akufo-Addo-led government to address graduate unemployment to solve social problems.

The focus of the initiative was to provide temporary employment to unemployed graduates, improve public service delivery and improve skills and employability for transition from programme to permanent employment.

With a 100,000 jobs in mind, in seven (7) prioritised areas, defined as the following modules: Educate Ghana; Heal Ghana; Feed Ghana; Revenue Ghana; Digitise Ghana; Enterprise Ghana; and Civic Ghana, the President launched the initiative in 2018.

The ultimate aim being to help guarantee employability of these graduates, placements would last for a period of three (3) years, earning NABCO trainees a stipend of 700 Ghana cedis every month.

Several youths were enrolled on the programme and this brought joy on many fronts, particularly to the many unemployed out there.
Complaints of salary delays, however, have fraught the move at several points.

Let’s explore some social media reactions:

Ghana card

Government again, in its 2016 Manifesto, promised to get Ghana working through digitization of the economy. As part of efforts to achieve this, he announced the introduction of a new National Identification Card to replace the existing identification cards in the system and serve a broader purpose.
In view of this, a mass registration exercise, conducted by the National Identification Authority (NIA) began on April 29, 2019, in the Greater Accra Region.

Other regions subsequently will have their turn to register for the card which would replace the sectorial identity cards in circulation and shall be the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law.

Of course, there were technical challenges encountered by the NIA in the first exercise but they subsequently were solved and as it stands, nearly 3 million persons already have their Ghana Cards as confirmed by the National Identification Authority.

Ghanaians lauded the initiative, hailing government for making efforts towards digitizing the system.

Here are a few of the tweets:

Ghana Post GPS (Jack where are you)

Ghana joined the list of nations hooked on to a digital property addressing system, following the launch of a ‘ghanapostGPS.’ App.

The digital addressing system is a modern approach to allocating addresses within a defined space with the aid of the latest geocoding technology.

This brought a new dimension to finding dimensions, a better option to the former ‘landmark way’ of locating places.

The $2.5 million digital addressing system was expected to provide addresses to 16.1 billion locations in the country – “every 5 by 5 metres square will be provided with an address.”

This app is currently being used as one requirement for the registration exercise for the GhanaCard nationwide.

‘Jack where are you’ indeed brought some relief to the Ghanaian populace as far as locations and directions are concerned.

Below are some of the tweets:

NHIS debt clearance

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, revealed in April 2018, that his administration is reviving the strength of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which, under the Mahama government, was being strangled by debt.

“Of the GH¢1.2 billion debt inherited which is equivalent to $300 million, President Akufo-Addo explained that GH¢1 billion, the equivalent of $250 million was paid.”

This he said was aimed at regaining the effectiveness of the scheme so that for a minimum amount, subscribers can have access to a wide range of medical services.”

Prior to that, the National Health Insurance Scheme which provided equitable access and financial coverage for basic health care services to the Ghanaian population was in a dire financial state with debt arrears.

Here's how Ghanaians reacted to the move:

One District, One Factory Program

One hundred and eighty-one factories have been enrolled under the government’s One District One Factory (1D1F) programme since its launch in 2017.

Fifty-seven of them are currently operating, while 22 are still under construction.
The 'One district, one factory' is a Government of Ghana policy aimed at creating jobs for Ghanaians through the setting up of factories and industries which will, in turn, move the country towards greater industrialization.

The policy was first introduced to Ghanaians in 2016 as part of manifesto of the New Patriotic Party of Ghana. The programme received a boost on January 13, 2018, with the commissioning of Twyford Ceramics factory by President Nana Akufo-Addo at Shama District in the Western region

Let’s see what Ghanaians thought about this initiative:

Nursing trainee allowance restoration

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2017 fulfilled the promise of restoring the nursing training allowance to serve as a motivation factor to attract more people to attend nursing colleges and colleges of education.

The policy which was introduced to encourage more people to study nursing and midwifery courses was abolished by the NDC in 2013/2014. It was then replaced with loans from the Students Loan Trust Fund to reduce the financial burden on the government.

Fifty-eight thousand midwife and nurse trainees benefited from the restoration of the nursing and midwife trainees’ allowance which was launched by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Sunyani.

In the 2017/18 academic year, the government was to spent GH¢232 million to pay the allowances of the beneficiaries who were to receive GH¢400 each per month.

It has since continued with the most recent being paid in August 2019 for the 2018/2019 academic year.
Nurses obviously were glad with this new decision and lauded government for the move

See some of the reactions