The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says the record of the government of President Akufo-Addo in its first term in office is unmatched in the history of the fourth (4th) Republic.
Addressing delegates at the 11th Quadrennial Conference of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU) in Accra on Thursday August, 26, Dr. Bawumia shared with the workers inclusive interventions by the Akufo-Addo government, which he described as defining legacies of the President.
“I will share with you developments which I believe have defined the President’s legacy. These are: his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented financial sector clean-up, the digital transformation of the Ghanaian society, and social interventions,” Dr. Bawumia said.
The Vice President, who recounted the mountain economic and social challenges the Akufo-Addo government inherited from the previous NDC regime, extensively listed how government’s various interventions have addressed, or mitigated these challenges since 2017.
Prudent Economic Management
The Vice President said, much of the government’s successes have been due to its prudent economic management, which he noted, expanded the economy prior to covid-19.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President on January 7, 2017 promised to rebuild this country as Ghanaians faced daunting challenges, including declining economic growth, rapidly falling value of the Cedi and constantly rising inflation and interest rates.’
“Three years over the planning period, between 2017 and 2019, the economy recorded significant expansion. Average growth in national output more than doubled from 2.8 percent (2014-2016) to 6.96 percent (2017-2019). The growth of agriculture more than doubled from 2.5 percent to 8.3%.”
“We halted de-industrialization, rebounded manufacturing growth, and expanded job creation. Fiscal deficit declined from 6.8 percent of rebased national output in 2016 to 3.8 percent and 4.8 percent between 2018 and 2019 in that order.”
“Inflation dropped steadily from 15.4 percent at the end of 2016 to 7.9 percent at the end of December 2019.”
Another important legacy of the Akufo-Addo government, which the Vice President shared with delegates, is digitization and its continuous impact on the society and the Ghanaian economy.
He said the government’s economic transformational agenda, was underpinned by the creation of digital infrastructure such as digital national identification system, property address system, inclusion of the non formal population into the financial sector through mobile money interoperability, amongst many others, whose benefits, he said, are obvious and impacting lives.
Social interventions to reduce suffering
Dr. Bawumia noted that the most important part of prudent economic management and all that government has achieved, is their impacts on the lives of the people, which he said, has been a priority to the Akufo-Addo government.
“While we have not totally eliminated the suffering of Ghanaians and Ghanaian workers, we can point to specific policy interventions that have mitigated the suffering that we talked about,” he said.
The Vice President listed several social interventions including de-freezing of public sector employment, which has led to recruitment of thousands of nurses and teachers, creation of NABCO to reduce graduate unemployment, expansion of recruitment into the security services.
Others he listed included: restoration of nursing and teacher trainee allowances, employment interventions through the Youth Employment Agency, industrialization through 1D1F, abolition of many taxes, employment opportunities to people with disability to man toll booths, Free SHS, government’s covid-19 alleviation packages, among others.
Impact and management of COVID-19
Just like other speakers, Dr. Bawumia acknowledged the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy and Ghanaians, as well as government’s swift response to the situation to mitigate the impact on Ghanaians and businesses.
“The country has clearly and unequivocally made strides in inclusive growth. All these strides were made before the destructive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020,” the Vice President said.
“The severe, debilitating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the day-to-day lives of Ghanaian workers, most especially on industrial workers, cannot be overemphasized.”
“The worldwide debilitating effects of the pandemic included disruptions to supply chains in production, economic slowdown, uncertain demand in markets and the loss of jobs and livelihoods. There has been a dramatic increase in shipping costs globally. For example, the price of shipping goods from Asia to Europe increased from $2000 per container in August 2020 to $12000 per container in August 2021 with its attendant impact on prices of goods (such as cement iron rods etc.) globally.”
Government responded swiftly. Through the implementation of the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP):
Government increased COVID-19 testing facilities from the initial (2) to sixteen (16) and equipped several hospitals across the country with the capacity to test for COVID-19;
Government subsidized electricity consumption for 4,772,512 customers from April 2020 to March 2021. Electricity consumption for 1,620,907 lifeline customers were fully covered while the consumption of other customers was subsidized by 50 percent; Government increased average monthly water supply by over 40% and provided free water supply to over 10,000,000 Ghanaians; and Government disbursed GH¢412.88 million to support over 270,000 businesses which helped save over 650,000 MSME jobs.”
Leadership of the ICU, also commended government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, and urged government to continue to do more to mitigate the impact, especially on workers.