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General News of Thursday, 14 February 2008

Source: GNA

Kufuor: Achievements have been solid

Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday gave an upbeat assessment of the performance of the Government over the last seven years describing its achievements as "solid".
He said through well-implemented policies and adherence to fiscal and monetary discipline, Ghana was now solvent and the economy strong and resilient.
In his last State of the Nation address to Parliament, intermittently interrupted with applause from the majority and heckling from the minority, President Kufuor said the spectacular issuance of a Euro-Bond on the London Stock Exchange to raise 750 million dollars for infrastructural development and the economy's ability to withstand the heavy shocks of the price of crude oil was testimony to this fact. Added to this, were the successful redenomination of the Cedi, without incident, the flocking in of many reputable banks, commencement of offshore banking and the rating of Ghana as the most attractive place to do business in the emerging markets by the World Bank.
Again there has also been a consistent growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which has now moved beyond the 6.5 per cent mark and is expected to hit eight per cent within the next three years. President Kufuor, who said his abiding principle in life had been to leave a place better than he found it, pointed out that given the high levels of inflation of over 40 per cent and interest rates of more than 50 per cent in 2001, as well as the free fall of the Cedi at the time, with the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) then smarting under crushing debts and being blacklisted, the country on the balance had done progressively well under his watch.
He said he was confident that, with the present trend of progress, the country should be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty by half ahead of schedule.
"A socially sensitive development framework is already in place. We must build on it to promote widely shared growth which will come to reflect in the pockets of the people generally."
President Kufuor touched on the discovery of oil in commercial quantities estimated to be over three billion barrels and said this was the country's biggest blessing of the Jubilee Year and that proceeds from it should have a big impact on the economy within the next two to three years.
He announced the setting up of Ministerial Committee to work towards the development of appropriate policies and measures, especially a regulatory framework to make the sector profitable to the entire society.
"With proper management of the oil, the country should be free from the inadequate liquidity, which has been a major constraint to effective discharge of development programmes."
Besides, Ghana's dependency on external donor support would be reduced, thereby strengthening the self-confidence of the nation and people.
President Kufuor also touched on the rediscovery of the national spirit since the start of the Jubilee Celebrations last year, noting that, the pulse of the nation had become vibrant and the people's outlook positive and enthusiastic.
"Ghanaians are displaying a strong yearning to be the best or with the best in Africa, as was manifested clearly during the just ended soccer tournament."
He asked the nation to take pride in the remarkable performance of the national team, the Black Stars, in the football fiesta, something that has helped the country to be ranked first in Africa and 14th in the world by the world football controlling body, FIFA, in its latest rankings.
President Kufuor saluted the Black Stars and the technical team for doing their best and for being good sportsmen as well as the Local Organizing Committee for their contribution.

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