My govt won’t be distracted from core mandate of transforming economy — President

BY: Donald A. Dapatem & Victor Kwawukume
President Akufo-Addo briefing the press
President Akufo-Addo briefing the press

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday stated clearly that he would not be distracted by unfounded allegations to go on a wild goose chase, at the detriment of the socio-economic development of the country.

He made it clear that he would remain focussed and not be swayed by detractors whose main agenda was to make sure that his government failed.

President Akufo-Addo stated this during the question-and-answer session of the second media interaction at the Jubilee House in Accra.

He was answering a question on the allegation of underhand dealings on the part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration by the Minority in Parliament regarding the alleged purchase of a building in Oslo to be used by the Ghana Mission.

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Enquiry into Oslo property?

There was also a question on whether he would institute a public enquiry into the alleged purchase of the building in Oslo and the President, in his response, said he would be the first to support enquiries into allegations of corruption with substance, but he would not allow his moves towards delivering on the mandate given to him by the people to be thwarted by frivolous fabrications.

“How can the government embark on investigations into an allegation where the building has not been purchased? If I am to follow such baseless allegations, my government will be occupied by such allegations and will not be able to deliver on its core mandate,” the President posited.

He said he was sure that such a strategy by the opposition to constantly throw unfounded allegations to occupy his time and energies would increase as the election year (2020) approached, but assured Ghanaians that he would remain resolute in honouring his campaign promises to the people of Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo said if he did not remain focussed, the same opposition would claim that he had done nothing at the end of his four-year tenure.

Foreign Minister’s expatiation

The Foreign Minister, Mrs Shirley A. Botchwey, who expatiated on the Oslo building deal, indicated that the government had not spent a dime on the building because the vigorous process, including inspection by engineers and approval by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), had not yet commenced.

She explained that her ministry could not have purchased any building and that any such purchase would be paid for by the Ministry of Finance after all the enquiries had been satisfied.

On the question of the various attacks on his policies by think tanks and the opposition, the President acknowledged that an open society where people and groups could freely express their views on government programmes and policies was what the country had fought for.

A word to detractors

“However, one thing that has become clear to me is that every step that needs to be taken to modernise the Ghanaian society in order to initiate the process of transformation is being resisted,” he said.

He cited examples as digitisation, the paperless port, the digital address system, the national identity card and the free SHS policy, which had all come under a barrage of attacks.

“All these steps that are being taken to take our country to the 21st century are being resisted. I know some people have vested interest in backwardness, so that they can manipulate the people. But the Ghanaian people and myself are in a hurry to get to the 21st century,” he stressed.

The President posited that as far as he was concerned, those policies were right and that if what those think tanks were saying was true, he would be the first person to admit so.

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A huge national responsibility

“But they are not going to deter me. They are not going to deter this administration,” he maintained.

President Akufo-Addo recounted that the history of the country had ample evidence of people distracting change but those changes, which ultimately took place, had ignited revolutions within the West African sub-region.

“We have a huge responsibility to ourselves to move this country into the 21st century and that is, for me, the linchpin, the anchor of whatever I have been doing and nothing is going to distract me from that goal. We will go ahead,” he affirmed.

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