Home Politics GH @ 61: Akufo-Addo Talks Tough On Corruption …As He Outlines Policies for ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’

GH @ 61: Akufo-Addo Talks Tough On Corruption …As He Outlines Policies for ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’

21 min read


By Frank Amponsah

The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has lamented the level of corruption bedeviling the nation and issued a strong warning to both past and present public officers to be ready to see more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months.

According to the President, the rate at which corruption is brewing in public offices and sectors of the economy is hugely affecting development and retarding growth.

Speaking at the 61st Anniversary celebration of Ghana’s Independence Day yesterday, President Akufo-Addo mentioned that “With the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place, we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months, and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they would be held accountable for their actions.”

He said corruption which is tantamount to stealing of public funds, continues to hold back the development of Ghana and that the recent disallowance of the payment of “fictitious” GHS5.4 billion by the Auditor-General was commendable since that amount can give a boost to the Free SHS programme.
Nana Akufo-Addo explained that “corruption is not a partisan matter and we must all act to protect the public purse. With the office of the Special Prosecutor now in place, we can expect more prosecutions for corruption in the coming months, and public officials, present and past, should be on notice that they would be held accountable for their actions.”
According to him the Right to Information Act which would increase transparency and add another critical weapon to the armory in the fight against corruption, will be brought back again to Parliament and to get it passed into law before Parliament rises.
He said: “The protection of the public purse is a social common good, and it depends on all of us. It is in all our interest that corruption does not thrive, and we police each other’s behaviour. Going beyond aid means Ghanaians should not serve as fronts for foreign companies to defraud our country. It will mean we all pay our taxes, and it will mean we all help to take care of government property as though it were our own.”
He revealed that government has made, in 2017, significant savings of some GH¢800 million in government procurement, when it moved from sole sourcing as the primary method of public procurement.

That departure, he maintained, will strengthen our public finances, and make it possible for Ghana to finance its own development.


The President however outlined policies for the realisation of his vision of Ghana Beyond Aid and indicated that achieving that goal “requires a deliberate, qualitative change in all aspects of our lives; especially, in the structure of our economy, the nature of our infrastructure, the education of our young people and acquisition of skills, and, above all, in our attitudes and holding firm to the values that define us.”

He said aid was never meant to be what would bring Ghana to the status of a developed nation and that the time has come for the country to pursue a path to prosperity and self-respect and that “A Ghana Beyond Aid is a prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of her economic destiny; a transformed Ghana that is prosperous enough to be beyond needing aid, and that engages competitively with the rest of the world through trade and investment. It is possible.”

Akufo-Addo noted that: “It is not a pie in the sky notion, because other countries, including some of our peers at independence, have done exactly that.  It is doable, and we must believe that, what others, with less resources, have done, we can do. However, we are not going to achieve the transformation in our economy, which is necessary for a Ghana Beyond Aid, by just talking about it. We have to DO something about it!  As a start, we have to do things differently to realize this goal of a Ghana Beyond Aid.”

The President also stressed that A Ghana Beyond Aid cannot occur overnight but, the most rapid cases of economic and social transformation in history, those in South East Asia, generally spanned a period of about 30 years; about a generation. “We cannot wait that long; we have wasted enough time already. It is time to get on with it, and the time is now.”

He maintained that in order to get to a Ghana Beyond Aid, Ghana would have to harness effectively its own resources, and deploy them creatively and efficiently for rapid economic and social transformation.

He pointed out that moving Ghana Beyond Aid means ensuring that future generations of Ghanaians have a healthy environment to inherit and that the country must be determined to protect the environment and water bodies by joining hands in the fight against illegal mining.

Strong macro-economy:

The President noted that his government has started on the right path towards a prosperous future with the concrete steps it is taking to restore macro-economic stability and economic growth, explaining that after a year of disciplined and innovative economic management, the results have been remarkable.

The economy, the President said, has grown from 3.6% in 2016 to 7.9% in 2017; inflation has gone down from 15.6% at the end of 2016 to 10.3%, as of January 2018; and a spectacular revival from a growth rate of -0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017.

“Interest rates are on the decline, the cedi is stabilising, and the fiscal deficit has gone down from 9.3% in 2016 to 5.6% of GDP in 2017, with a projection of 4.5% for 2018. Fiscal discipline has been restored, and fiscal consolidation has taken hold. For the first time since 2006, government has been able to meet its fiscal deficit target,” the President said.

He continued, “We will continue to manage the economy in a disciplined and sound framework so that we maintain fiscal and debt sustainability. This, in the long run, is fundamental to moving Beyond Aid.”


Job Creation:

An improving, disciplined macro-economy, the President stressed, is essential for expanding the economy, and, thereby, creating jobs.

This year, he assured that Ghanaians will see vigorous job creation in the public sector, beginning with the recruitment of one hundred thousand (100,000) young men and women in the Nation Builders Corp.

“But, what I am seeking, above all, is the rapid growth of private sector jobs, both in industry and agriculture, i.e. in the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which should generate a lot of rural sector jobs. Moving Beyond Aid demands that effective measures are taken to address widespread unemployment, especially amongst our youth. We are on the right path to do so,” the President said.

Value Addition Activities:

Getting Ghana to a situation Beyond Aid, the President said, means adding value to Ghanaian exports, and stop the export of materials such as cocoa, gold, bauxite, manganese and oil in their raw state.

He said: “Our cocoa farmers, for example, get less than 10% of the value of a bar of chocolate, and yet cocoa is the main ingredient. On the world market, bauxite in its raw form is worth about $42 per metric tonne. Processing it just one stage further into alumina oxide will fetch twice that amount. Refining the alumina oxide into alumina will increase the value by seven times, and smeltered aluminium fetches one hundred fold what it gets in the raw state.”

With Ghana having sought to establish an integrated bauxite and aluminium industry since independence, President Akufo-Addo says his government is determined to make it happen within the next three years.

“Work on the law establishing an Integrated Bauxite and Aluminium Development Authority is far advanced, and will be submitted to Parliament very shortly. Government also hopes to reach an agreement soon with potential partners to establish an alumina refinery, and expand the VALCO smelter. A successful execution of this project will be key in moving Ghana Beyond Aid, as will be the successful exploitation of our iron ore and manganese deposits to build a steel industry for our country and the region,” he added.


Infrastructural Development:

On Ghana’s “huge infrastructure needs in the areas of roads, bridges, water, electricity, housing, hospitals, schools, etc”, the President noted that

“My government is going to implement an alternative financing model to leverage our bauxite reserves, in particular, to finance a major infrastructure programme across Ghana. This will probably be the largest infrastructure programme in Ghana’s history, without any addition to Ghana’s debt stock. It will involve the barter or exchange of refined bauxite for infrastructure,” he said.

The President assured that his government expects to conclude this agreement and start its implementation this year, explaining that it will represent a paradigm shift in the financing of Ghana’s development priorities, and make it possible for the country to move Beyond Aid.


Having undertaken deliberate policy reforms to digitize Ghana, and to formalize the Ghanaian economy, President Akufo-Addo stated that the national identification and address system, the drivers licence and vehicle registration, the paperless operation at the ports, inter-operability of payment system in the financial sector, are all geared towards modernizing the economy.

“We should begin to feel the difference when all these measures become operational this year. I am looking forward, particularly, to the digitization of the land registration process to help the mortgage market, and release hundreds of billions of cedis to finance our development,” he said.

The President continued, “Digitization would also allow the delivery of education and health services to remote areas, reduce corruption, expand the tax base, expand e-commerce, make credit more available as uncertainty is reduced for financial institutions, and increase domestic resource mobilization.”


President Akufo-Addo assured the Ghanaians that his government is laying a strong foundation for an educated and skilled workforce of the future through the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme, which this academic year enabled 90,000 additional young Ghanaians to enrol in SHS.

“These are our future scientists, engineers, modern farmers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and transformation agents!” he said.

The President indicated further that, “in the years ahead, the principal thrust of national development policy must be to ensure that science, technology and innovation drive all sectors of the economy. We are going to commit resources to basic and applied science and engineering that should result in the development of the capacity to manufacture machinery, equipment and component parts for industry, agriculture, especially machinery for planting harvesting and processing of produce.”

Private Sector Development:

For a government committed to the growth of the private sector, President Akufo-Addo noted that his administration believes that the private sector should be the critical partner in moving Ghana Beyond Aid.

“In truth, part of our problem has been that government tries to do too much, tries to take on far too much beyond its capacity. There are many projects in roads, railways, water transport, agriculture, etc. which, if properly structured, will attract private sector financing. Key to attracting private sector investment is a conducive, business friendly and peaceful environment,” he said.

In concluding, President Akufo-Addo stressed that “Ghana Beyond Aid is meant to be more than a slogan. It is meant to propel us into the frame of mind that would quicken our pace of development. It is meant to change our mindset from one of dependency, to one of achieving our destiny. It is meant to put us in charge of our own affairs, and make us truly independent. Above all, Ghana Beyond Aid will give us the respect and dignity we deserve.”

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