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April 22nd , 2024

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Nana Amoah

A month ago

SONA: AKUFO-ADDO'S FULL SPEECH

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A month ago

President Akufo-Addo delivered his last but one State of the Nation Address to Parliament on February 27, 2024.


Please read the full speech below:

It is always exhilarating to be back in Parliament and to discharge the

duty, in fulfillment of Article 67 of the Constitution, of delivering to the

House a Message on the State of the Nation on this occasion for the

penultimate time.

By protocol and convention, it is good to see that the First  Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, Second Lady Samira Bawumia, Spouse of Mr. Speaker, Alice Adjua Yornas, Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo and Justices of the Supreme Court,

Chairperson Nana Otuo Siriboe II and Members of the Council of State,

the new Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, the Inspector General of Police, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, and Service Chiefs are all present, as are the Dean and Members of the

Diplomatic Corps.


Mr. Speaker, the House is duly honored by the welcome attendance of

the former President of the Republic, His Excellency John Dramani

Mahama, and former First Lady, Her Excellency Nana Konadu Agyemang

Rawlings.

Mr Speaker, I am glad to be able to report that the entire territory that

makes up our nation is safe, secure, and under the control of the

government and the people of Ghana.

This might sound like a pedestrian statement with which to start a

Message on the State of the Nation. Unfortunately, far from it being an

everyday truism, this is no longer a statement or claim that can be easily

made in these times in the neighborhood in which we are. West Africa

is under threat of terrorism and violent extremism, rapidly spreading

southwards from the Sahel to coastal West Africa.

We can no longer take the territorial integrity of our countries for granted.

Indeed, many of our neighbors have already fallen victim and lost large

portions of their territories to extremist groups, and Ghana, by the grace

of the Almighty is the only coastal state along the Gulf of Guinea that has

so far, a terrorist attack has.

Mr Speaker, the peace and security we have in our country has not

happened by chance. It has taken deliberate policy and planning on the

part of the Government and a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of

our security services to keep our country safe and secure.


I might add that it has also meant we have had to spend a lot of money

that would otherwise have been available to spend on many of our

development needs. But I believe we all agree that the primary

responsibility of the state towards its citizens is to provide and guarantee

peace and security, and we are doing just that.


Since we came into office, we have ensured a significant expansion of the

Armed Forces and all the other security agencies. We are paying diligent

attention to their welfare as well. The accommodation and physical

environment of the security agencies are generally being improved.


We have quickened the pace of the retooling and equipping of the security

agencies to ensure readiness for emerging security threats.

For the majority of us and our everyday activities, it is the security of our

streets, homes, and communities that concern us most. We want our

children and grandchildren to grow up in a safe atmosphere, and the

Ghana Police Service plays the lead role in this. Again, the Government has

performed most creditably.



They are much better equipped than ever, and their increased visibility on the streets goes a long way to reassure the community. The changing image of the Police is best exemplified by their dramatic facelift to the

frontage of the Police Headquarters on the Ring Road in Accra. It is beautiful, and I recommend it to all institutions and households.


While we are spending money, time, energy, and lives to keep the country

safe from external dangers, I must add that it is a matter of great concern

that we continue to have so many chieftaincy and land disputes around

the country, which tends to be a breeding ground for internal tensions and

destabilization.


Mr Speaker, I would like to mention the troubles in Bawku. The

tragedy is not only that a thriving and dynamic town is being reduced to

a wasteland of destruction and distrust, we are spending money and

energy that would have been better spent on the development needs of

Bawku, provides security to keep brothers and sisters from killing each

other.



Mr Speaker, what should concern all of us and not just the people of

Bawku is that, in its current state, Bawku is an alluring magnet to mischief

makers and extremists are operating a few kilometers across from the border.

In the bid to find a lasting solution to the conflict, the Government has, in the

past year, undertaken several measures, including the establishment

of a special Bawku Taskforce, and the intensification of engagements with

the factions for the resolution of the chieftaincy dispute.


On the recommendation of the Upper East Regional and National Security

Councils, four (4) radio stations that have been broadcasting incendiary

language and propagating hate speech have been shut down by the

National Communications Authority. The Chief Justice has also recently

established specialized Courts in Accra and in Kumasi to deal expeditiously

with criminal matters emanating from the Bawku conflict.


Government is determined to do all it can to ensure there is security in

every inch of the territory of our country, but it also is very much up to

the citizens to help create the needed atmosphere, and I am, thus,

appealing to all citizens to take the See Something, Say Something

campaign of the Ministry of National Security very seriously.



There is, indeed, Mr Speaker, a state of palpable anxiety and tension in

every corner of West Africa, raising the specter of regional instability,

which we thought had been banished. Unconstitutional changes in

Government in parts of Africa, especially in West Africa, through a series

of coup d’états and military interventions in governance testify to an

unfortunate democratic regression in the Region.


It is in the interest of democratic growth that this development is reversed as soon as possible, and we, in Ghana, continue to give maximum support to ECOWAS, the

regional body of West Africa, and the African Union, Africa’s continental

the organization, in their efforts to restore democratic institutions in the

affected nations.


We must help stem the tide of this unwelcome evolution,

and help entrench democracy in West Africa. We also believe that a

reform of the global governance architecture, such as the Security Council

of the United Nations to make it more representative and accountable,

will help strengthen international peace and stability and, thereby, help

consolidate democratic rule in the world.



Mr Speaker, we in Ghana have had our fair share of political instability

and experimentation about how we should govern ourselves. There might

be new names being ascribed to some of the supposed new ideas being

canvassed by some today, but I daresay, on close examination, we would

discover they are familiar, we have tried them here, and they have failed.

We know about all-powerful, cannot-be-questioned Messiahs, we know

about liberators, and we learn about redeemers and deities in the military

uniform.


It might sound new to some, but those of us who have been around for

a while have heard the argument made passionately that democracy was

not a suitable form of Government if we wanted rapid development. It is

a tired argument that was regularly used by coup d’etat apologists.

It is also not new to have political parties and politics denigrated in general. Indeed, there used to be national campaigns of fear waged

against politics and political parties.


It took time, and it took long battles, but in the end, a consensus did

emerge, and we opted for a multi-party democratic form of Government

under the Constitution, which ushered in the Fourth Republic.



Mr Speaker, it is not a perfect document, Constitutions do not ever

pretend to be, but it has served us well these past thirty-two (32) years,

considering where we have come from. It is a sacred document that

should not be tampered with lightly, but I hasten to add our Constitution

did not descend from heaven; we, Ghanaians, drew it up to serve our

needs, and we can amend it to suit our changing needs and

circumstances.


We should work towards finding a consensus on the

changes that the majority of Ghanaians want to be made to the Constitution.

Mr Speaker, democracies are founded on elections, and the holding of

free and credible polls ensure that people have confidence in the

government that emerges at the end of the process.


The Honourable Members of this House, who are at the center of it all,

know more than the rest of us that this is an election year. The increased

decibel level in all communications would ensure that even the most

a politically uninterested person among us would know that, on December

7, we shall be going to the polls to elect a new President and Members of

Parliament.



A lot of the responsibility lies on the Electoral Commission to put the

the organization in place to ensure that we have credible elections.

Government is doing its part to make the work of the Electoral

The commission goes smoothly.


A lot of responsibility lies on the political parties as well, and I hope that

the parties recognize that their credibility is also on the line, with some

people wanting to undermine the multi-party democratic system of

government.


It is up to the parties to demonstrate that competitive

elections are an honourable, character enhancing experience, and, at the

end of the process, the loser will congratulate the winner, and the world

does not come to an end because an election has been lost.



There is nothing inherently dirty or corrupt about politics, and nothing

about elections that should generate violence. We who are in politics and

we who are members of political parties owe it to ourselves, the

institutions we claim to belong to, and, above all, we owe it to Ghana and

the people of Ghana to make politics and elections severe and joyful

phenomenon they should be.


In discharging their responsibility, I urge the Electoral Commission to work

with the political parties to iron out whatever problems there might be,

and I am happy that the Electoral Commission, after engaging the parties,

has shelved plans to change the 7th December date.


Politics, after all, has been described as the art of the possible, and if that is what we are engaged in, it should not be beyond us to resolve the problems that come

up, and concentrate on working to build a happy and prosperous

country we want.



The government, on its part, will do what is expected of it to make sure that

the reputation of Ghana is not damaged, and the free will of the people

is manifested at the end of the electoral process, and I want to reassure

the people of Ghana that I will do everything in my power to help ensure

Transparent, free, and fair elections will be conducted on 7th December.


I have confidence in the security services to ensure that those who might

want to cause havoc or any mischief to disrupt the electoral

process will have no room to operate.


Mr Speaker, there are those amongst us who, for ideological or other

unstated reasons have never accepted multi-party democracy, and,

therefore, take every opportunity to portray the governance efforts in the

most disparaging manner.



There are also those amongst us who consider the rough and tumble of

politics to be beneath them, and they would not want their sainted images to

be soiled by what they term the dirt of politics.


Mr Speaker, we can and should continuously improve the performance of the institutions that hold the state together. Still, nobody should undermine the integrity

of the arms of government for parochial reasons. There is definitely much

room for improvement in the workings of the Executive arm of

Government, the Judiciary, and our Parliament.


Even those who have had Parliaments as part of their governance systems

for hundreds of years still make mistakes and sometimes get things

alarmingly wrong. It would be surprising if our thirty-one (31) year-old

Parliament did not get things wrong sometimes.



This august House, which holds so many fond memories for me of my

personal political journey does not always measure up to the expectations

of the people or, even sometimes, of its own members.


There is a lot of anxiety about how our MPs get elected, the rapid turnover of members in the House, and the loss

of institutional memory. There is a lot of anxiety about some of the

procedures in the House. We would not all agree with everything that

Parliament does, and I daresay, Mr Speaker, that I can't entirely agree with

everything that goes on here, but that is the beauty of what we, as a

people, are trying to do in our governance structure.


Mr. Speaker, the president, and his appointees are not universally loved,

and it would be strange and unproductive if they were. It is probably

worthwhile making what I consider to be essential observations at this

stage on some of the issues in our public discourse in the lead-up to the

elections for a new President.



Under the Constitution, the executive power of the state is vested in the

President of the Republic. They are the Executives. There is clarity about where the buck stops regarding responsibility for what happens in the government. It contains the President; they have ultimate responsibility. It would be an unwise President who would pretend to have all the answers and refuse the

advice of his officials, but the fact remains that the President holds 

executive power.


The Cabinet and the Ministers of State all act in an advisory manner. Of

course, a member of the government might take an idea, be it generated

by the President or the official or a committee, and turn it into a huge

success and the honors would be claimed or shared where public

perception falls. But, ultimately, the President is responsible, and,

therefore, takes the credit or the blame for whatever happens in his or

her government.


I'll make a second point for you. The programs that come from the

Executives benefit from the rigorous public examination and debates they are subjected to. We all now take for granted and, sometimes, even mourn the vigorous media and civil society organization scrutiny that characterizes public

discourse.



It gives me quiet satisfaction and great pride to hear young Ghanaians

today who believe criticizing the President of the Republic and

challenging government proposals are normal, regular activities. Some of

the young people listen with disbelief when they hear about Ghana

. It was once without private radio stations, and people had to tune in to

foreign stations to hear critical and opposition voices. Today, 

some five hundred and fifty (550) radio stations are in operation in the

country.


Despite all its shortcomings and difficulties, the people of Ghana have

shown admirable commitment to multi-party democracy and have not

fallen for the instigations to resort to the violent overthrow of an elected

government.


The past thirty-two (32) years of the Fourth Republic have witnessed the

a most sustained period of stability and economic growth in our country,

and we should be proud of what we have achieved and seek to protect

and build on it, and that is why the theme for the sixty-seventh (67th)

independence anniversary celebration, on 6th March, is “Our

Democracy, Our Pride”.



Mr Speaker, I am pleased to report on the progress we are making in the

administration of justice. This past year, seventy-six (76) Judges

and Magistrates were appointed. They comprised a new Chief Justice, two

(2) new Justices of the Supreme Court, twenty-three (23) new High Court

Judges, twenty-nine (29) new Circuit Court Judges, and twenty-one (21)

new Magistrates.


Two hundred and sixty-two (262) staff were recruited to address some of the human resource gaps created because of the newly established courts throughout the country. In January 2024, three (3) additional Justices have been appointed to the Supreme Court to replace three (3) Justices who have retired from the Court.


We have made unprecedented progress in providing court buildings

and residences for judges nationwide. In 2020, the Government set

out to construct one hundred (100) courthouses with residential facilities

nationwide. As of 31st January 2024, sixty-seven (67) courthouses had

been successfully inaugurated and used at various sites nationwide. Twelve (12) completed projects have been slated for

inauguration by the end of February 2024.



The remaining twenty-one (21) projects are at various stages of completion and are

expected to be completed and inaugurated before May 2024. In addition, one hundred and twenty-one (121) residential units have been constructed for judges nationwide. Further, twenty (20) fully furnished 4-bedroom units and social amenities have been built for Justices of the Court of Appeal in Kumasi.


The project still needs to be completed, but we have done enough to say that we have resolved the problem of the disgraceful state of court buildings. Now, attention is on the digitalization process of the courts to modernize the entire system.

The Judicial Service has undertaken a digitalization initiative to modernize

legal operations, and foster greater access to justice.


A virtual court system was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure business continuity. The virtual court system was rolled out to seventeen (17) courts and then to nineteen (19) High Courts for the smooth hearing of court cases.



By the end of December 2023, one hundred and sixty (160) courts had been equipped with devices for real-time transcribing cases, in addition to fifty-one (51) courts piloting the paperless court system in Accra. Integrating real-time transcription devices in one hundred and sixty (160) courts has revolutionized how court proceedings are recorded and documented. The service is rolling out a comprehensive digitalization of the court system.


The Attorney-General has continued, in a very effective manner, the

tradition under this administration of contesting every civil litigation

against the state and has avoided the numerous judgment debts that

used to be given against the state. The Office, as a result, has saved the

country over ten trillion Ghana cedis (GH¢10 trillion).


I shall be performing a pleasant duty in a few weeks when I

commission the Law House, the twelve (12)-story office building, which

will house the offices of the Attorney-General and his Ministry, and, finally,

bring an end to the age-old office accommodation problem. I must declare

I am interested in it, as the building started when I was AttorneyGeneral in the Government of President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2001.



Mr Speaker, I acknowledge and share the frustration and deep disappointment we all have that a convergence of events and fate have conspired to place impediments on the path of the rapid development trajectory we were on. I am proud that, despite the dramatic financial crisis that we encountered in 2021, whose worst effects became manifest in 2022, the transformative measures we introduced in the first four years of office make it possible to showcase an impressive array of developmental

projects across the length and breadth of the country.


I do not intend to go through the long, even if enjoyable, process of enumerating the

projects the Akufo-Addo Government has undertaken since coming into

office, their location, and their completion stage. Mr Speaker, with the best will in the world, there will not be the time to do that, even if we spent all day here.


It will be recalled that last year, during the Message on the State of the

Nation, faced with a similar problem about road projects, I came to the

House, armed with a fat book that had the details of the road projects

around the country, and all Honourable Members were given copies to go

through at their own leisure.



This year, we are taking things to a higher level. This Government, after

all is the Digitalisation Government and the man who has led the entire

the digitalization process these past seven (7) years, my indefatigable Vice

President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Dr Digitalisation, the NPP’s excellent

presidential candidate for the 2024 election, is coming up with what will

allow everyone and anyone to check on every project being undertaken

by the government without having to listen to the President’s Message on

the State of the Nation.


We are calling it the Performance Tracker. You can check and satisfy yourself about the projects' status and location, and you could stop by and do a physical inspection if you are so minded.


Mr Speaker, if you want to check on roads, classroom blocks, or CHIP

compounds or Agenda 111 hospitals, or bridges, or science laboratories,

or water projects, sanitation projects, landing sites and harbors,

and other infrastructural projects, or whatever this Government used your

tax money to execute, the key to your query is on your phone.


Mr Speaker, the Performance Tracker will be formally launched in March,

and I am offering it as the device that would help bring accountability

into your hands. With the Performance Tracker, we can be sure that never

again, will pictures of an artist’s impression be offered as projects that

have been executed.


I can recommend the Performance Tracker in the sure knowledge

that the Akufo-Addo Government has done more in education in terms of

student enrolment, teacher training, and employment, provision of

infrastructure than any government; we have similarly done more in

health, agriculture, security, roads, railways, tourism, digitalization than

any other Government.


Thanks to the Performance Tracker, the President no longer has to go through lists, and I can confidently say that every performance indicator shows we have done more in these seven (7) years than in any of the eight (8) years under the NDC.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, on coming into office seven years ago, my government took the decision, as we promised, to modernize and formalize the economy through digitalization.


In this regard, we have embarked on one of Africa's most far-reaching digitalization exercises. Up from the figure of nine hundred thousand (900,000), which we inherited when we came into office in 2017, we have, thus far, enrolled 17.6 million on the Ghana card and, therefore, provided unique biometric identity to the majority of Ghanaians. We have also implemented a digital property address system with unique addresses for all properties in Ghana.


Furthermore, through the implementation of mobile money interoperability, we have also provided adult Ghanaians access to financial services through mobile money accounts that are interoperable with bank accounts. Ghana is now ranked number one in Africa regarding access to financial inclusion. We have digitalized the provision of public services at the ports, DVLA, NHIS, GRA, Births and Deaths, Registrar of

Companies, ECG, Ghana Water, amongst others. Ghana is ranked number

one in West Africa and number seven in Africa in e-Governance.


We have also implemented the use of drones in the delivery of medicines, blood

and vaccines and Ghana currently runs the world’s largest medical drone

delivery service. We have also networked all teaching, regional, and district hospitals, and patient records can easily be accessed in these hospitals without needing a folder. Ghana is making giant strides in digitalization,

thereby improving transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the public

sector and accelerating the growth of our economy.


We are definitely going to be part of the digital revolution that is sweeping the world.

Mr Speaker, last year, when I came to the House to deliver the annual

Message on the State of the Nation: we were amid negotiations

with the International Monetary Fund.


We were faced with a tough situation and had to take a lot of

unpleasant but unavoidable measures to bring stability and confidence

back to the economy. These included tax measures that we did not like,

but we knew we had to take in the knowledge that the medicine would

be bitter but temporary.


Mr. Speaker, a year ago, I also made the decision to undertake a

comprehensive debt restructuring of our domestic and external debt to

ensure we remain resolute in our objective to restore macroeconomic

stability and sustainable growth. The decision was not easy, considering the complex and diverse domestic debt landscape. We had to consider safeguarding the financial sector, preserving social and economic conditions, and protecting our

domestic debt market.


A year on, I am happy to let you know, Mr. Speaker, that we have made

significant progress. We requested an unprecedented number of bondholders to participate in a voluntary exchange, and we successfully exchanged some

two hundred and three billion cedis (GH¢203 billion) worth of bonds.


Not only was the exchange successful, but it helped us to secure five

(5) months, the shortest possible time in recent debt restructuring history,

a Staff Level Agreement to an Executive Board Agreement with the IMF.

My gratitude goes to all financial sector players, organized labor, firms,

regulatory institutions, and all individuals who made this painful exercise

successful.


Mr. Speaker, as you may recall, the Government successfully paid the first

coupon of two-point-three billion cedis (GH¢2,369.67 million) on the new

bonds on 22nd August 2023. At the time, that was the single biggest

payout of domestic payments in a single day for Ghana. We then paid

two billion and sixty million cedis (GH¢2,060.72 million) for the last leg of

the domestic debt exchange on 5th September 2023.


A week ago, last Tuesday, 20th February 2024, the second coupon of five-point-eight billion cedis (GH¢5,847.72 million) was paid to domestic bondholders. This

is the most significant coupon paid in a day in Ghana’s history.


On the external debt side, we achieved a significant milestone by reaching

an agreement with our public creditors, and I will use this occasion to

express our appreciation to the Republic of France and the People’s

Republic of China, co-Chairs of the Official Creditors Committee, for their

positive roles in this achievement. We have also intensified our

engagement with our external bondholders on the principles of

transparency, fair treatment, consistency with the IMF debt sustainability

analysis, and good faith. We are focused and committed to accelerating

the process.


Mr. Speaker, we are committed to concluding the external debt restructuring process as soon as possible to move past the crisis. This will enable us to complete substantial projects that have been constrained due to financial challenges. In the meantime, some priority projects have been transferred onto the GOG budget within the same fiscal space to ensure their completion.


This will enable the Kumasi International Airport, some ninety-eight (98%), to be completed by May. Other projects like the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) Maternity Block in Kumasi, the Takoradi Interchange, the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange in Accra, the University of Environment and Sustainable Development Project at Bunso in the Eastern Region, phase two of the construction of roads in Tamale, and the construction of the eighty-four-kilometer (84km) railway line

between Tema and Akosombo would also be completed.


Mr. Speaker, I am happy to announce that an alternative funding source has also been secured for the reconstruction and completion of the La Hospital Project as a fully functional modern hospital with the necessary equipment for diagnosis and treatment. The contractor has been paid an advance mobilization of fifteen percent (15%), representing some seven-point-five million dollars (US$7.5 million), and work has

begun. The project commenced effectively in January this year and will

be completed in twenty-eight (28) months.


Mr Speaker, it is essential to underline that the recent change in the leadership of the Finance Ministry will not affect the Government’s commitment to implementing the terms agreed with the IMF to ensure that we restore the economy to healthy growth as soon as possible.


Indeed, the macroeconomy was much stronger at the end of 2023 than in 2022. Inflation, which peaked at 54.1% in December 2022, reduced to 23.5% in January 2024. Real GDP Growth for the first three quarters of 2023 averaged 2.8 percent, higher than the targeted growth rate of 1.5% for 2023. The cedi has been broadly stable since February 2023, with a cumulative depreciation of nine percent (9%) between February and December 2023. Gross International Reserves reflected a significant buildup of five-point-nine billion dollars (US$5.9 billion), enough to cover

2.7 months of imports of goods and services.


The current account turned positive at 1.4% of GDP at the end of September 2023, from negative-two-point-one percent (-2.1%) at the end of December 2022. Generally,

the macroeconomic indicators are, once again, pointing in the right direction. In all our discussions with the Fund, a paramount consideration has been ensuring that the poor and vulnerable do not bear the brunt of the sacrifices that must be made. Programs like LEAP, School Feeding, and Capitation Grant have been protected and enhanced.


Mr Speaker, right from the start of this Government coming into office,

we have sought to place the maximum effort on the education and

training of the youth as the base for building the prosperous nation we

seek. A foreign statesman once posed the question: “Why am I the first

member of my family in a thousand generations to have gone to the

university?”


In the past seven years, I have met many people, young and old, across

this country, who have told me about the first person in their families and

in their communities to have gone to Senior High School. They might well

ask the question, why are they the first boy or girl in their family to have

gone to Senior High school.


The answer is plausible. Not being able to go to secondary school for lack of money was so widespread and an accepted phenomenon that it led to some people thinking Senior High School was not meant for them or their children or for people from their village, and, therefore, a child in the family finishing Junior High School

and moving on to Senior High School was not factored into their

expectations.


Mr. Speaker, Free SHS might be labeled by its detractors as a mere

the political slogan that must be demonized, but it is, in fact, a transformative

a program that has broken myths and liberated minds. It is humbling on

the one hand and frightening on the other, to think of the sheer number

of talents that Free SHS has unearthed that would otherwise have ended

their formal education at BECE.


I know we will get more engineers, doctors, architects, scientists, writers, and poets out of the increased numbers of those attending Senior High School who will go on to further education. Even if they stop at senior high school, imagine what a million more educated young people from secondary school will do to our self-confidence and the value of our workforce. That, alone, makes Free SHS worthwhile. I am proud that the NPP government, under my leadership, has brought this transformative policy into our education system.


Mr. Speaker, I believe the success of the Free SHS has answered its critics and the arguments about it should cease, so we should concentrate on finding ways to improve it. I am happy that the fears about lowering standards have been allayed. Refreshingly, we witnessed, through the 2023 batch of Free SHS students, the best WASSCE results in a decade.


Mr Speaker, there is more to education than Free SHS, and the Government

has been paying equal attention to all the other sectors. Kindergarten,

Primary and Junior High schools must work together to give a solid

foundation and strengthen the Free SHS policy.


The implementation of various programs such as Capitation Grant,

Feeding Grants to Special Schools, BECE registration for pupils in public

Junior High Schools, amongst others, have significantly increased access

to education at the primary level.


The focus of the comprehensive reforms within the sector has been to

improve learning outcomes and ensure every child that goes through our

the education system is equipped with literacy and numeracy skills by the time

they exit primary six (6). A National Standardized Test for numeracy and

reading skills are now being conducted at primary four (4).


Unfortunately, quite a few children still manage to slip out of the net, miss going to school altogether, or drop out of primary school. The Ministry of Education partnered with key development allies to launch an innovative financing program called the Ghana Educational Outcome Project (GEOP). The goal of GEOP is to provide educational support to seventy-two thousand (72,000) out-of-school children, helping

them access complementary education and transition into formal schools.


I am happy to report that seventeen thousand three hundred and forty (17,340) out-of-school children have been taken through the program and mainstreamed into formal schools in 2023. This program has worked so well that it won the GOVTECH PRIZE award in February 2024 at the World Government Summit held in Dubai.


The government has remained committed to improving the teaching and learning of STEM education at the pre-tertiary level. Critical interventions have increased our ability to produce STEM professionals and develop 21st-century skills. Accordingly, the curriculum has been overhauled to include STEM Career Pathways such as Aviation and Aerospace Science, Biomedical Science, Engineering, Computer Science, Manufacturing, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence.


The government has also increased its investment in infrastructure for

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education at

the pre-tertiary level. The construction of ten (10) STEM Schools and ten

(10) STEM Centres have commenced across the country, with seven (7)

STEM Model Schools have been operationalized.


These schools have been equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories and

classrooms, dormitories, assembly halls, dining halls, and conducive

environments to foster teaching and learning. The operationalized schools

have a total enrolment of two thousand four hundred (2,400) students

reading General Science and STEM.


Mr. Speaker, in recognizing the critical role of Technical and Vocational

Education and Training (TVET) in the country’s industrialization agenda,

the government continued implementing essential reforms in the TVET space,

including the expansion of the Free Senior High School program to

include students in public TVET institutes.


Mr Speaker, a lot of resources have gone into the provision of infrastructure

at all levels of the education system. But a lot remains to be done. Many

primary schools require more adequate classrooms and furniture, and the

environment in some of these schools can be made more suitable for

learning and teaching.


Some senior high schools, especially community schools that have recently absorbed the formal GES structure, need more facilities than the established schools take for granted. We must all express our gratitude to the teachers in such schools who manage, despite the difficulties, to bring out the best in their students and

sometimes succeed in achieving outstanding results.


They exemplify the best in Ghana and give us hope for the future. Indeed, the one-tabletper-student policy at the senior high school level is being rolled out, and

I will formally launch it next month. It is a great tool to help

bridge the gap between disadvantaged and privileged students.


Mr. Speaker, Free SHS and our “No Guarantor” policy under the Student Loan Trust Fund are breaking down financial barriers for students seeking higher education. By eliminating the requirement for a guarantor, we have empowered students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue their educational aspirations without undue financial burden. This has meant a substantial increase in students seeking tertiary education. In response to this increase, the Government has established four (4) new universities in Mampong in Ashanti.

The region, Akrodie in the Bono Region, Bunso in the Eastern Region, and Kintampo

in Bono East Region, and expand the facilities in existing ones.


We are pursuing interventions towards achieving, by 2030, the forty percent

(40%) Gross Tertiary Enrolment Ratio, up from the current level of

18.84%, as well as the sixty-forty (60:40) science to humanities ratio,

from the current one of forty to sixty (40:60), as captured in the Education

Strategic Plan of 2018 to 2030.


Mr. Speaker, between 2012 and early 2017, there was nothing more

demoralizing than the phenomenon we called DUMSOR. It was

symptomatic of a dysfunctional system, and it caused widespread

depression among businesses and households.


After that experience, my government was determined that DUMSOR

would not be inflicted upon Ghana and Ghanaians under an NPP

government, and I am glad to be able to say, SO FAR, SO GOOD; we have

managed to keep the lights on these last seven (7) years, even in the

midst of a financial crisis.


We have managed the energy sector with discipline and expertise to

avoid a repetition of the hardships inflicted on Ghanaians some years ago.

Furthermore, through determined, skillful negotiation, we have been able

to reduce considerably the energy sector debt that we inherited. Indeed,

the Government Negotiating Team carried out a successful reconciliation

exercise with the IPPs and ECG, which established that the IPP arrears

the position was not the one-point-six billion dollars (US$1.6 billion) that had

been previously reported in the media but was actually one-point-two

billion dollars (US$1.2 billion), which is savings of some four hundred million

dollars (US$400 million).


Additionally, the Government Negotiating Team has reached commercial agreements on headline terms for the restructuring of power purchase agreements and arrears with AKSA, Amandi, Cenpower, CENIT, and Early Power and is finalizing the remaining

definitive documentation of such terms, which will result in the total expected

savings in excess of nine-point-one-billion dollars (US$9.1 billion) over the

lifespan of the IPP projects.


In the meantime, ECG has secured a fixed monthly energy purchase price with all the IPPs. This has led to a monthly payment of forty-three million dollars (US$43 million) instead of seventy-seven million dollars (US$77 million), that is monthly savings of thirty-four million dollars (US$34 million) or a forty-four percent (44%) reduction in monthly payments, a far better outcome than the “Take-OrPay” system we inherited.


Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that we are making admirable progress

in the provision of electricity to all parts of the country. Last year, two

hundred and seven (207) communities were connected to the grid, taking

the current national electricity access rate is eighty-eight-point-eight-five

percent (88.85%). We are aiming to achieve universal access this year,

by connecting an additional four hundred (400) communities to the

national grid under the Self-Help Electrification Programme (SHEP)

and other Turnkey Projects.


As part of efforts to improve power system reliability in the middle and

In northern parts of Ghana, the Government made a decision to relocate the two

hundred and fifty megawatts (250MW) Ameri Plant from Aboadze to

Anwomaso in Kumasi.


The Volta River Authority (VRA) has successfully

relocated six (6) Units of the Ameri Plant, with a capacity of one hundred

and fifty megawatts (150MW), which are currently being tested and

commissioned in Kumasi. The Authority is taking steps to relocate the

remaining four (4) units before the end of the year.


Mr Speaker, we are also making steady progress in our commitment to

increase the component of renewable energy in our energy generation

mix. A four-megawatt floating solar PV on the Bui Reservoir, as well as

the fifteen megawatts (15MW) solar PV at Kaleo has been completed, and

are both operational. They have contributed to increasing our share of

solar energy to the generation mix to three-point-two percent (3.2%). A

one hundred megawatts (100MW) of solar PV is under construction at

But, as is the Mini-grid Electrification Programme ongoing in the Ada East

District, all of which will help us attain our target of ten percent (10%)

renewable energy in our generation mix by 2030.


Mr Speaker, furthermore, we have committed ourselves to the

development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. As I indicated at

the US-Africa Nuclear Energy Summit and the International Framework

for Nuclear Energy Co-operation (IFNEC) Ministerial Conference, held in

Accra in November last year, the first of its kind in Africa, our energy

transition plan envisages thirty percent (30%) of our electricity production

to be from nuclear energy by 2070, which is the core mandate of the

Ghana Nuclear Power Programme Organisation (GNPPO), an entity under

the Office of the President.


This strong commitment and position are geared towards providing clean, affordable electricity to drive our industrialization agenda. It is also meant to position Ghana as a net power exporter in the ECOWAS region through the West African Power.

Pool.


Mr Speaker, we have also succeeded in having the Secretariat of the

Climate Vulnerable Forum, an inter-governmental forum of fifty-eight (58)

of the most climate-vulnerable countries, representing some 1.4 billion

people, located in Accra.


Mr Speaker, we have all heard about the Gold for Oil Programme. It has

been explained, debated, and talked about. At this moment, all I want to

say about it is that the Gold for Oil Programme has worked well, and

reduced significantly forex pressures on bulk energy storage,

transportation and bulk imports, distribution and export companies, and

enabled them to negotiate more competitive premiums with suppliers.

Premiums dropped from one hundred and eighty to two hundred dollars

per metric tonne ($180-200/MT) to seventy dollars per metric tonnes

($70/MT) or less.


This also resulted in reduced and stabilized prices at the

pumps of between twelve to thirteen cedis (GH¢12-13) per liter for the

whole of 2023. We are taking steps to rectify some of the handicaps that have limited the full participation of Ghanaians in the oil and gas industry. For years, the

well-paid jobs in the sector were taken exclusively by foreign nationals,

because we did not have people qualified in those fields.


Last year, one hundred and fifty (150) young Ghanaians were trained and

certified as mechanical maintenance technicians, electrical technicians,

instrumentation technicians and production process technicians up to the

industry standards. Additionally, five young Ghanaians underwent a ten-month welding inspector training program at the North Alberta

Institute of Technology, Canada.


They have since been placed in various technical institutions in Ghana as instructors. Ghanaians will soon fill the well-paid positions in our oil fields because we have the trained and qualified personnel. Things are looking up. Mr Speaker, the subject most discussed in our country is roads and highways. When I appeared in the House last year, as I said earlier, I took the extraordinary step of developing a fat book detailing all the Government's works

on roads since coming into office in 2017. It was generally agreed

that it was impressive, but more was needed to satisfy everyone.


The work continues, even though some significant road works

have been temporarily interrupted due to the debt negotiations. As

I have said earlier that all the details will be available on the Performance

Tracker. Other modes of movement around the country are being built

and upgraded to open up the country and make travel easier.


Mr Speaker, the new standard gauge railway line from the Port of Tema

to Mpakadan in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region, covering

a distance of some one hundred kilometers (100kms), is at the final stage

of completion. By the middle of the year, the line will be commissioned

for operations to commence with brand-new standard gauge diesel

multiple unit trains, the first of their kind to be used in our country.


It is worth mentioning a rail bridge has been built across the Volta as part

of this railway line. I have no doubt it will attract a lot of interest. I am a

a great believer in the importance of aesthetics as much as the practical,

and that is why I encouraged the contractors to construct the rail bridge,

which was not part of the original contract, across the Volta to make the

journey more scenic.


The development is on the course of a new standard gauge Western Railway

The line to serve passengers, the mining sector, as well as support

industrialization to boost the development and growth of this nation. The

plans for the extension of the railway line to Paga might not materialize

during my administration, but I am sure they will not be abandoned.

Mr Speaker, there is no argument that food self-sufficiency is essential for national security and the foundation for building a

prosperous nation. Last year, the government reviewed the Planting for Food

and Jobs (PFJ) Programme, which was implemented in 2017.

Based on lessons learned, the Government developed and launched, under the

the dynamic leadership of the new Minister for Food and Agriculture, the

second phase of the PFJ.


The second phase of the PFJ sets out a 5-year agenda to ensure food self-sufficiency and resilience. Strategic targets have been set for eleven (11) priority products in the immediate term (September to December 2023), short term (year 2024), medium term (2025 -2026), and the long term (2027-2028). The selected products are maize, rice, soybean, sorghum, tomato, pepper, onion, cassava, yam, plantain and poultry.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that production estimates for these

priority products revealed that the planned targets for the year have been

exceeded for all the products except poultry.


Poultry, obviously, requires extra attention, and that is precisely what we are doing. We have every intention of meeting the domestic production targets for poultry this year,

2024, and moving onto production levels will lead to reduced poultry imports. We envisage vigorous cooperation between the government and the private sector to achieve the set target.


Mr Speaker, the surest way of making agriculture attractive to young

people is to take the struggle out of farming, and the Government is

continuing to make agricultural machinery and equipment readily available.

Under the third and final tranche of the Brazilian More Food Programme,

tractors with accompanying implements, power tillers with accessories,

maize shellers, units of combine harvesters, and rice millers have been

distributed to farmers, processors, and mechanization service providers on

hire purchase arrangement. This year, under the Indian Exim Facility,

tractors with matching implements, planters, and boom sprayers combine

harvesters and corn pickers will also be made available.


Mr Speaker, having determined that large-scale commercial farming is the

the easiest way to achieve our set goal of food self-sufficiency, Government,

under the second phase of the PFJ, will establish Agricultural Zones as a

complementary initiative to address the issue of access to large tracts of

agriculture land to drive sustainable and commercially oriented

agriculture.


This will significantly expand Ghana’s productive capacity for

rice, soybean, maize, and tomato products. Indeed, between 2021

and in 2023, rice imports fell by some forty-five percent (45%). In 2021, rice

imports amounted to eight hundred and five thousand metric tonnes

(805,000MT); in 2022, six hundred and fifty thousand metric tonnes

(650,000MT); and, in 2023, four hundred and forty thousand metric

tonnes (440,000MT). This healthy trajectory will continue until we achieve

full self-sufficiency in rice production.


For each Agricultural Zone, Government will partner with the private

sector to provide the necessary irrigation infrastructure, develop access


Roads, extend power (solar/hydro), and provide mechanization services.

Various locations across the country with the potential to be food baskets

have been identified to establish the Agricultural Zones. They

include Afram Plains, Tsopoli, Kumawu, Karachi, and Nkoranza.


Mr Speaker, we all witnessed the spectacular increment in the cocoa price

from eight hundred cedis per bag (GH¢800) to one thousand, three

hundred cedis (GH¢1,300) per bag in the current cocoa season, the

the highest increase in fifty (50) years. With the current trend of the world

cocoa price, cocoa farmers can be sure that I will do right by them in the

next cocoa season.


Mr Speaker, the Government has begun the development of seven thousand

hundred hectares (7,100Ha) of irrigation infrastructure in five (5)

identified economic enclaves within the Afram Plains Agricultural Zone.

Work is also continuing towards the completion of the Tamne Phase III

Extension and Vea Irrigation Schemes. This will make an additional one

thousand two hundred and fifty hectares (1,250Ha) of irrigable land

available to cultivate rice and vegetables.


The Ghana Irrigation Development Authority will continue with the

development of small earth dams in the Northern, Upper East, Upper

West, North East, and Savannah Regions to support the “One- Village OneDam” (1V1D) Initiative.


While at it, Mr Speaker, we have not forgotten about the welfare and

wellbeing of our fisherfolk. My government has completed the construction of twelve (12) coastal fish landing sites at Axim and Dixcove in the Western Region, Moree, Mumford, Winneba, Senya Beraku, Gomoa Feteh, Otuam and Mfantseman in the Central Region, Teshie and Osu in the Greater Accra Region, and Keta in the Volta Region.


Additionally, I had the pleasure, in May last year, of commissioning the newly

constructed Elmina Fishing Harbour in the Central Region, much against

the hopes of the naysayers, and, God willing, soon this year, I will also

commission the Jamestown Fishing Harbour, which currently stands at

eighty-eight percent (88%) are complete and are expected to be ready by

August 2024.


Mr Speaker, to help address the incidence of premix fuel diversion and

hoarding, the Government last year completed the installation of fifty (50)


Out of the three hundred (300) premix fuel automated dispensers. My

expectation is that the remaining automated dispensers will be installed

by September this year to help optimize the distribution of premix fuel.

The government will continue to take decisive actions, such as the close

season, to help safeguard the ocean’s capacity to regenerate and to

continue to deliver substantial economic, environmental, and social value

for our development.


Mr. Speaker, Ghana regained its position last year as the leading

producer of gold in Africa, having overtaken South Africa. Our gold

production reached an unprecedented four million ounces (4 million oz),

according to preliminary reports. This is due to the progressive

policies we have been implementing, which have led to the revival of

dormant mines like the Obuasi and Bibiani Mines and the expansion of

existing ones. The reduction in withholding tax on unprocessed gold by

small-scale miners, from three percent (3%) to one and a half percent

(1.5%), has resulted in some nine hundred percent (900%) increment in

gold export from the small-scale sector over the last two (2) years.

Leveraging on these resources, we introduced the innovative Gold for Oil

Policy accounts for some thirty percent (30%) of our total crude

oil consumption.


Currently, three (3) large-scale mines are under construction in Ahafo,

Upper East and Upper West Regions, with Cardinal Namdini set to pour

Its first gold in the Upper East Region was in the last quarter of this year. With

these new mines, our gold production is expected to increase to some

four point five million ounces (4.5 million oz) annually.


Mr. Speaker, to add value to these volumes of production, we have

constructed, through a public-private partnership, a four-hundred

kilogram (400kg) capacity gold refinery, and we are in the final stages

of negotiations for a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Certificate.

For our green minerals, including lithium, we have put in place a policy

for their exploitation and management, to ensure beneficiation across the

value chain of these critical minerals.


Mr. Speaker, as it has been widely reported, Newmont Corporation, the

world’s largest gold-producing company, which operates two massive mines

in our country, and is constructing a third, has announced its intention to

sell its Akyem Mine in the Eastern Region, the third largest mine in the

country, which produced some four hundred and twenty thousand

(420,000) ounces of gold in 2022. As part of the Government’s policy to

indigenize the mining sector, we will engage with Newmont to give priority

to Ghanaian investors who will want to acquire this mine to ensure that

Our mineral resources benefit the Ghanaian people better.


Mr. Speaker, we continue to work to ensure the protection of our forest

and wildlife resources while reclaiming degraded forests. Some forty-two

million (42 million) trees have been planted over the last three years,

under the Green Ghana Project, and some six hundred and ninety

thousand hectares (690,000 ha) of degraded forest have been cultivated

between 2017 and 2022 under the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy.


Mr. Speaker, the main cornerstone of our move towards the industrial

transformation of Ghana is the “One-District-One Factory” policy; this

Government’s iconic flagship initiative. It demonstrates how the government

can stimulate and incentivize the private sector to expand and diversify

manufacturing across the country by harnessing locally available raw

materials. It is significant to note that, within the relatively short span of

six (6) years, the Government has directly intervened to stimulate interest in,

and support many private-sector business promoters to make significant

investments in manufacturing under the One-District-One-Factory

Program.


Mr. Speaker, this has led to the development of three hundred and

twenty-one (321) 1D1F projects, consisting of two hundred and eleven

(211) new, medium to large-scale factories, and the conscious enabling

of one hundred and ten (110) existing companies to inject significantly

capital investments into the expansion of production facilities and

diversification of products.


These business promoters have so far invested in one hundred and forty-two (142) districts across the country, across all sixteen (16) regions, and achieving fifty-four percent (54%) district coverage. The aspiration is to bring a 1D1F project to every district. Mr. Speaker, within this period, some one hundred and seventy thousand

(170,000) jobs have been created under the novel 1D1F Programme by

companies in operation.


Mr. Speaker, the Government approved several incentives, including duty

exemptions, to support the implementation of the 1D1F Programme. In

In 2019 and 2020, thirty-seven (37) 1D1F companies were approved exemptions by this august house. However, from 2021 to date,

no exemptions have been given.


Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to consider and approve all the outstanding

exemption applications urgently to send positive signals to

the business community. The exemptions law you passed

provides for such exemptions under existing laws.


Mr. Speaker, the other initiative to stimulate industrial growth

that we have been actively promoting is automotive assembly and

component manufacturing. It is universally recognized as a key strategic

sector for boosting industrial transformation.


The comprehensive Automotive Development Policy, launched by the Government in August 2019, has undoubtedly been the catalyst that has attracted a record

number of twelve (12) Original Equipment Manufacturers, including

Volkswagen, Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan, Peugeot, KIA, Hyundai, Honda to set

up assembly plants and produce a range of models here in Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, it is noteworthy that these investments have been

accompanied with complimentary initiatives to build the necessary

engineering and technical skills in Ghana.


Toyota Ghana has partnered with the School of Engineering Sciences of the University of Ghana to establish and operate a modern Auto Engineering Training Centre for engineering students and the industry to acquire applied auto engineering training.

Similarly, KIA Motor Company of Korea has upgraded the Rana Motors

West African Vehicle Academy (WAVA), with state-of-the-art equipment

for training of auto repair and maintenance technicians, including repair

and maintenance of Electric Vehicles.


Mr. Speaker, to spur our industrialization, we are implementing the Four

Project Agenda of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development

Corporation (GIADEC), with Projects 1 and 2, have already taken off,

and last month, we signed an agreement for the implementation of Project

3. Mr. Speaker, we will lay before this august House at this First Meeting

of this Session of Parliament, a Legislative Instrument to prohibit the

export of bauxite in its raw state. We are also in the concluding phase

of discussions for the establishment of a four hundred and fifty million US

dollar (US$450 million) refinery to refine the manganese we produce.

Mr. Speaker, we have all long acknowledged that trade between African

countries must increase if we are to make any headway with our dreams

of prosperity on the continent.


I am happy to report that the setting up the AfCFTA, with headquarters here in Accra, is beginning to show positive results. Ghana is one of the seven (7) countries selected to participate in the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) of the AfCFTA Secretariat,

and this has enabled us to make significant inroads into East Africa, notably Kenya and Tanzania. Over seven hundred (700) AfCFTA-certified products from Ghana, like cosmetics, processed foods, beverages, coconut oil, shea butter, and garments, have been targeted at the AfCFTA market under the Guided Trade Initiative.


I want to mention that Kasapreko Company Limited, one of our iconic local beverage manufacturers, has commenced exporting to the Kenyan market.

It is a fact worth celebrating that many other Ghanaian companies now

have set their horizons way beyond the shores of our country and see

the entire African continent as the market to aim at.


Mr. Speaker, in speaking about workspaces and jobs, our thoughts

invariably turn to young people and, for some people, to formal sector

and formal sector jobs. We often forget that legal sector employees form

only a tiny part of the working population. This small percentage of the

working population tends to be those covered by pension

schemes, and, unfortunately, most workers in the country do not

have pensions.


To that extent, in May last year, SSNIT launched the Self-Employed

Enrolment Drive (SEED) is an initiative that seeks to improve coverage

and increase the contributor base of the SSNIT Scheme. Since the launch

of the SEED initiative, some six hundred thousand (600,000) self-employed persons have been enrolled in the program and now have

some form of social security cover.


Effective 1st January 2024, all pensioners on the SSNIT Pension Payroll as

of 31st December 2023, have had their monthly pensions increased by

fifteen percent (15%). This translates to ten-point-zero-five percent

(10.05%) effective increase for the highest-earning pensioners and

thirty-six-point-three-seven percent (36.37%) effective increase for the

lowest-earning pensioners. The fifteen percent (15%) indexation rate will

result in an additional expenditure of six hundred and ninety-seven million

cedis (GH¢697.64 million). The total benefit expenditure for the Government,

under the SSNIT Scheme alone, is projected to increase from a five-point-

four billion cedis (GH¢5.446 billion) in 2023 to seven billion cedis

(GH¢7.034 billion) in 2024.


Mr Speaker, I believe we can say with certainty that, in the tourism sector,

Ghana is finally realising her long-promised potential. Starting from the

events and excitement of the Year of Return in 2019, Ghana has truly

become an attractive tourist destination, with visitor numbers increasing

every year. “December in GH” is now an established and increasingly

beautiful phenomenon, which brings visitors to our country in the month

of December, and has changed the events calendar around the Christmas

holiday season in Accra and many other towns.


Mr Speaker, for the first time since the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park

was constructed in 1992, the Government has undertaken a full

modernization rehabilitation of the facility. Since the commissioning of the

modernized park in July 2023, the number of domestic and international

visitors has risen dramatically.


A national newspaper reporting on activities at the revamped Park had

a screaming headline that said AKUFO-ADDO RESURRECTS

NKRUMAH. That gave me pause for a moment, but on reflection, I

decided I would accept it, be it a compliment, criticism, or an addition

to the collection of sayings by our elders.


Whichever it is, since the commissioning, there have been two hundred and eight thousand, five hundred and fifty-seven (208,557) domestic and international visitors to

the Park between 14th July and 31st December 2023. Mr Speaker, compare

That, with the best performance until then was in the Year of Return in 2019, when there were one hundred and twenty-six thousand, one hundred and ninety (126,190) visitors in the year. Other facilities are being upgraded, and it is good to note that the private sector is showing interest in the development of tourist attraction sites.


Mr Speaker, the National Museum Gallery, which had been closed down

since 2015, has also been fully refurbished. It attracted over thirty-five

thousand (35,000) visitors in 2023, and I am particularly pleased that

schoolchildren form a good part of the visitors to these sites.

The first-ever Kente Museum, aimed at preserving the cultural heritage in

Ghana has been built at Bonwire in the Ashanti Region and was recently

commissioned by the Second Lady. Preparatory works and designs for the


construction of the Heroes Park, a museum to commemorate the founding

fathers of Ghana, the Big Six, JB Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey,

Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei, William Ofori-Atta, Kwame

Nkrumah was completed in December 2023, and construction will

I'd like you to begin very soon.


Mr Speaker, Government, through the National Film Authority, is

committed to supporting the production of world-class content and films,

as well as increasing the cinema infrastructure in Ghana and, by

extension on the continent. To this end, a favorable fiscal (tax) regime

for cinema projects, including income tax and VAT incentives, import duty

exemptions on film production equipment, twenty percent (20%) tax

rebate for strategic film productions and film financing reliefs is being

elaborated by Cabinet, which should be out-doored very soon and should

provide another tangible reason for the choice of Ghana as a film

production country.


Mr. Speaker, in line with the government’s commitment to ensure gender

equality, the revised National Gender Policy and the Affirmative Action Bill

were approved by the Cabinet in October 2023. The Affirmative Action Bill is

currently before Parliament for consideration and approval. We count on

the support of Parliament to speed up the passage of the bill.


The Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) is implementing an only-women support

program where micro, small, and medium enterprises owned by

women, with the potential to scale up their operations, increase sales, and create sustainable jobs, will receive liquidity support. The GEA is also implementing the YouStart Programme, a youth empowerment program, which recently disbursed one hundred million cedis (GH¢100 million) to some three thousand youth beneficiaries to upscale their businesses.


Mr. Speaker, we are also implementing some interventions to support persons with disabilities. In June last year, a

significant boost was given to micro, small, and medium enterprises owned

by persons with disabilities when the Government launched the twelve-million-cedi (GH¢12 million) PWD Enterprise Support Programme.


Under the Ghana Transformative Project, this grant support program is

being funded by the World Bank. Again, the Youth Employment Agency

has initiated a groundbreaking employment drive targeting two hundred

and eighty-two (282) persons with disabilities who worked at toll booths.


Mr. Speaker, let me now turn to football, a sport that is dear to the hearts

of all Ghanaians. I am sure I disclose no state secret if I am an ardent football enthusiast – and once played in the University

of Ghana team with my friend, the late President John Evans Fiifi AttaMills.


Throughout the years, the national team, the Black Stars, has held a

special place in the affection of Ghanaians. They lifted our spirits, dominated Africa, and won four (4) continental trophies. They have,

at other times, broken our hearts. But it was not until 2006 that the Black

Stars finally broke through to the world stage when they qualified for the

World Cup for the first time. You will remember that we rose up as one in

our support, and they did not disappoint. Then came the spectacular South

Africa 2010 World Cup and its drama, when we almost became the first

African side to reach the semifinals of the World Cup.


It is fair to say that since the sad events in Brazil in 2014, many Ghanaians

have been left disappointed by some of the recent results of the Black

Stars. Various attempts have been made to revive the fortunes of the national

team, and rebuild the enthusiasm of the people with varying degrees of

success.


The recent AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire was probably the nadir of the

The performance of the Black Stars has left the nation saddened.

However, I am pretty sure that the young men and the technical

handlers would, themselves, have wanted to make our nation proud and

I believe that the captain, Andre Dede Ayew, meant every word when he

rendered heartfelt apologies on behalf of his team-mates to all Ghanaians

for the team’s early exit.


Mr Speaker, I believe it is time for us to take a long-term, far-sighted

approach to correct what has gone wrong. It is time to return to scouting,

grooming, and developing talent at the district grassroots level under a

I intend to unveil the presidential policy on football. The school sports

department of the Ministry of Education will work hand in hand with the

Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration and synergy with the Ghana

Football Association (GFA), to build district, regional, and national juvenile

teams for both boys and girls. The more than one hundred and fifty (150) astro turf pitches constructed throughout the country under this administration provide the


Foundational facilities will start as we strive to provide more of

them. We should see a steady talent progression from

the junior and juvenile teams to the senior sides based on merit and nothing

else.


A similar approach has been tried before, under the five (5)-year football

development plan, led by the late Ben Koufie and initiated under the NPP

administration of President JA Kufuor. It was under this plan that talents

such as Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari, John Mensah, Derrick Boateng and

later, Asamoah Gyan and Stephen Appiah were discovered and nurtured.

The results became evident to us and the world. It takes time, dedication, and patience. We can only harvest where we have planted and

irrigated. I do not doubt that the Black Stars will rise and make us

proud again.


Mr. Speaker, the senior Women’s team, the Black Queens who do not get

half the attention the Black Stars get has been performing quite

creditably. They had gone for ten (10) matches without any loss until last

December’s when they lost narrowly to Namibia in Windhoek in the final

qualifying round for the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. Even though

they lost narrowly to Zambia in the first leg of the qualifiers for the 2024

Olympic Games, let us wish them well in the second leg to be played in

Lusaka tomorrow, and I hope they give us something to cheer about.


Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to report that all the preparations

are ready for Ghana to welcome sportsmen and women from around the

continent to participate in the 13th edition of the African Games. It seems

incredible, but this is the first time that Ghana will be hosting these games.

It has taken a lot of courage to have decided to host

the games, especially when our financial problems came amid

the preparations. But I am glad we went ahead.


The preparations are complete, and I was excited and delighted

with what I saw at Borteyman when I went to commission the Games

Village two (2) weeks ago. We have high-class sporting facilities

that will serve us well long after the games.

Some of the events will take place at the University of Ghana Sports

Stadium. It is worth noting that this is a facility started under former

President J.A. Kufuor was abandoned by successor governments.


I am exceedingly proud that this project has been finished under my

stewardship, not just because of the games but also because it has taken

seventy-five (75) years of existence for Legon, Ghana’s Premier

University, to have a sports stadium. I urge all Ghanaians to make our

visitors welcome, and to patronize the games and cheer on the

participants.


Mr Speaker, this is the seventh time that I have appeared before this

House, as President, should give an accounting of the state of our nation.

Luckily for me, I know my way around the place, having spent twelve

memorable (12) years here as a Member of Parliament, and, therefore,

even on the few occasions that sections of the House did not want to

I want to feel welcome, but I could still manage.


I have another scheduled date with the House when I would be here

to explain my time in the office. My successor

would have been elected by then, and we would be getting ready for the

swearing-in ceremony. The elections will be held peacefully, and the

candidate with the credibility to take us to a higher level will win. Let me

wish all of us well in the elections on 7th December.


Before then, there several essential tasks lie ahead of us; one of

which will be commissioning the Nana Agyeman Prempeh I International

Airport in Kumasi, and naming the recently designated airport in

Tamale the Yakubu Tali International Airport.


Mr. Speaker, we stumbled, but we are rising again. We were bruised, but

we are healing. We have recovered our footing. We have dusted ourselves

off, and now we face tomorrow with confidence.


We pray daily and hope that adversity may spare our families, communities, and dear nation. But should we be confronted by

misfortune, we must face it like people with a proud history who fight and

do not flee. Yenim ko; yen nim adwane. That is the Ghanaian spirit. That

is our armor and our shield. This is our ethos.


Let us believe in Ghana.


I believe in Ghana. Thank you for your attention.

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Nana Amoah

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