General News of Monday, 17 April 2017
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed that the Akufo-Addo administration has delivered on 103 of its campaign promises since taking office some 100 days ago.
According to the Vice President, though a lot of work still needs to be done to see to it that the country's economy is transformed, the Akufo-Addo-led administration has done a significant amount of work in just hundred days to set the right foundation for much needed change Ghanaians voted for.
Speaking at a Townhall event at the new court complex in Accra Monday morning, Dr. Bawumia took Ghanaians through a tall list of measures and interventions that have been put in place by the NPP government to boost growth in the economy and stimulate development across the country.
Among the issues talked about at the Townhall event include:
- Real GDP with oil was down 3.6% in 2016 from 9.1% in 2008.
- Declining growth in agriculture and industry
- Rising unemployment
- High fiscal deficits
- Rising public debts
- Accumulating arrears on government obligations
- Weakening of the banking system
- Cancellation of teacher and nursing training allowances
- Depreciation of the exchange rate
- Return to cash and carry under NHIS
- Freeze on the hiring of Extension Officers in agriculture
- High and pervasive taxes
- High electricity prices
- IMF bailout
Here is a breakdown of the 103 achievements of the NPP government in the past 100 days according to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
Moving the Focus of Economic Policy from Taxation to Production
The NPP has;
- Abolished excise duty on petroleum.
- Abolished levies imposed on ‘kayayei’ by local authorities.
- Abolished levies imposed on religious institutions by local authorities.
- Abolished the 1% Special Import Levy.
- Abolished the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on domestic airline tickets.
- Abolished the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on financial services.
- Abolished the 17.5% VAT/NHIL on selected imported medicines, that are not produced locally.
- Abolished the 5% VAT/NHIL on Real Estate sales.
- Initiated the process to abolish duty on the importation of spare parts.
- Reduced National Electrification Scheme Levy from 5% to 3%.
- Reduced Public Lighting Levy from 5% to 2%.
- Reduced special petroleum tax rate from 17.5% to 15%.
Restoring Fiscal Discipline and Macro stability
The NPP has;
- Replaced the 17.5 VAT/NHIL rate with a flat rate of 3 % for traders.
- Granted Capital Gains Tax Exemption on stocks traded on the Ghana Stock Exchange or publicly held securities approved by the SEC.
- The 2017 Budget returned Ghana back on to the path of fiscal consolidation with a budget deficit target of 6.5% of GDP.
- Government created fiscal space by capping of earmarked funds to 25% of government revenue and realigning expenditures to government priorities.
Restoring Fiscal Discipline and Macro stability
- Re-profiling Ghana’s public debt: USD2.25 billion cedi sovereign bonds, up to 15 year tenor, at 19.75%.
- Massive boost to our gross international reserves from $6 billion $8 billion.
- Reduced Inflation Rate from 15.4% to 12.8%.
- Allocated the cedi equivalent of $1million( GHs 4.1 million) to each constituency for economic development and poverty reduction.
- Restored confidence in the macro-economy by anchoring fiscal policy on the pillars of credibility, clarity and transparency.
Food and Agriculture
- Ghana and Ivory Coast have agreed to collaborate to tackle the volatility of cocoa prices.
- 1200 agricultural extension officers have been hired and trained nationwide to support Planting for Food and Jobs.
- Reduced fertilizer prices by 50%.
- Imported 300,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers; this is higher than any annual import since 2007.
Culture and Tourism
- Established a Safety Audit Unit at the Ghana Tourism Authority to conduct safety audits across tourist sites.
- Established the Creative Arts Council.
- Launched the Presidential Museum at the Christiansborg Castle.
- Spread the allocation of premix fuel to more OMCs. Previously only 2 OMCs were allowed to sell premix. As part of government’s effort to ensure transparency and stamp out corruption, we have increased the number to 9.
- Halted the issuance of fishing licenses to stop overfishing.
- Trained Watch dog committees along the coast to fight the menace of light fishing.
ICT and E-commerce
- Government has awarded a contract for the capacity building of 1,400 teachers/education leaders in ICT to be undertaken by Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT.
- Awarded contract for Information Management System for Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.
- Awarded contract for Case Management System for Judicial Service of Ghana. Software being installed now.
- Contract awarded for E-Procurement system for use by the Public Procurement Authority.
- $300 million saved by reviewing and prioritizing Power Purchase Agreements
- Secured financing for two major rural electrification projects (Hunan and China Water). This project when implemented would extend electricity to over 800 communities.
- Transparent allocation of petroleum blocks: A team of experts has been constituted to work with the Petroleum Commission to develop regulations for the transparent allocation of petroleum blocks as provided by Act 919.
- New policy on sulfur content introduced. Effective1st July, the sulfur content in our fuel will be reduced from the current 3,000pmm to 50pmm. This will reduce respiratory diseases triggered by fuel toxins with high sulfur content. Same level as western world and East African countries.
- For new PPAs, Government is moving from thermal to renewable energy .
- Renewed focus on Railway: There was no allocation to the sector in the 2016 budget. However in 2017, Ghs518 million has been allocated to the sector.
- Ghana Railway Company is now generating enough revenue to pay their salaries.
Social Sector achievements
- Free SHS : Redefined Basic Education to include SHS and made allocation of Ghs 400 million in the budget to start free SHS for first year students in September 2017.
- Completed draft bill for the National Research Fund.
- Increased National Service Allowance effective April from Ghs 350 to Ghs 559.
- Allocated Ghs 43.9 million for the establishment of a National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan.
- Approval has been given to employ 11,000 health trainees who graduated between 2012 and 2016.
- Dissolution of the Health Training Institute Secretariat.
- Reduced cost of nursing training admission forms from Ghs 160 to Ghs 100. This will cover all processes leading to admission
- Restored nursing training allowance.
- Secured financial clearance to employ 181 Doctors who completed their housemanship 7 months ago.
- Terms of reference completed to enable selection of auditors on competitive basis to undertake forensic audit of the January 2016 Central Medical Stores fire Outbreak.
- Completed appointment of Ministers within 6 weeks of coming into office.
- All ministers have declared their assets.
- Established a functional Delivery Unit at the Presidency.
- Established a functional Economic Management Team.
- Established a policy not to buy new cars for government machinery.
Zongo and Inner City Development
- Completed the draft bill for the historic Zongo Development Fund and made an allocation of Ghs 219 million for the fund.
- Established Ministry of Zongo and Inner City Development: For the first time in the history of Ghana, Government has appointed a minister to focus on the needs and infrastructural demands of the Zongos around the country.
Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs
- Sword cut for the construction of a National Cathedral. Established a board of trustees to oversee the construction.
- Increased the proportion of DACF that goes directly to assemblies from 33% to 50% as a result of fewer deductions from the centre
- Policy approval given to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Work on draft bill is in progress.
- State prosecutors had been on strike since November of 2016 which crippled the justice system. The AG office successfully negotiated with the state attorneys who have since resumed work
- Successfully freed up AG's account that the courts had garnisheed.
- All allowances due soldiers at the various missions have been fully paid. $39 million in arrears have also been paid.
- Peacekeeping allowance increased and paid from $31 to $35.
- Successfully participated in ECOMIG Operations (GAMBIA): We moved away from "dzi wo fie asem" and actively participated in the restoration of democracy in Gambia while helping to ensure peace and stability in that country.
- Established the Office of Diaspora Affairs within the Office of the President.
- Worked with international bodies to secure election of three Ghanaian nationals to high profile positions within the African Union System
•Hon. Kwesi Quartey (Deputy Chairperson of the African Union)
•Ms. Kathleen Quartey-Ayensu (Member of the AU Commission on International Law), Mr. Daniel Batidam (AU Anti-Corruption Board).
- Capped electricity power purchases at 10 cents per KwH.
- Established policy to separate VRA’s thermal operations from hydro.
- Established a policy to move all major government buildings, schools, hospitals, military, and police to solar energy.
- Uninterrupted production of oil and gas in the Jubilee Field due to a temporary mooring solution. A long term permanent solution is being discussed. This solution has saved Government USD 5million per month.