Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stepped into office as the President of Ghana last Saturday and gave an assurance that his government would protect and manage the public purse to engender the necessary social and economic development.
“I shall protect the public purse by insisting on value for money in all public transactions. Public service is just that — service and not an avenue for making money. Money is to be made in the private sector, not the public. Measures will be put in place to ensure this,” he said.
State coffers, he said, were not spoils for the party that won an election but resources for the country’s social and economic development.
Touching on some key areas of his policy thrust and vision for the country, President Akufo-Addo said his government would work to restore integrity in public life, happiness in the nation and also create wealth.
However, he said, achieving some of the policy objectives of his administration would depend on the ability of the educated and skilled population to compete in the global economy.
The President underscored the need for Ghana to expand its horizon and embrace science and technology as critical tools for national development.
“We believe that the business of government is to govern. Ours is to set fair rules. We will provide vision and direction and shine the light down the path of our entrepreneurs and farmers. We are, indeed, counting on a vibrant private sector to drive growth and create jobs,” he said.
He pledged to do all within his power to accomplish the vision for change that culminated in his electoral victory.
He said he was deeply humbled by the extraordinary show of confidence that the Ghanaian people had reposed in him and his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and would work hard to ensure that he did not let Ghanaians down.
“I assure you, my fellow citizens who have entrusted me with this mandate, that I will advance my convictions with civility; I will serve the public interest with courage; I will speak for greater justice, as well as compassion, and I will call for responsibility and I will live it, as well,” he pledged.
Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia was also sworn in as the Vice-President at a colourful ceremony, presided over by the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Aaron Oquaye, while the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, administered the various oaths of office.
“I am deeply humbled by the exceptional mandate and extraordinary show of confidence that the Ghanaian people have conferred on my party, the New Patriotic Party, and on my modest person. I am determined to do all in my power to accomplish the tasks of the mandate and justify their confidence. I will not let you, the people of Ghana, down,” President Akufo-Addo told the ecstatic crowd at the Black Star Square.
No excuse for being poor
Exuding confidence and patriotism, President Akufo-Addo said: “Sixty years after attaining nationhood, we no longer have any excuses for being poor. I stand here today, humbled beyond measure for the opportunity to lead this country at this time and take us to a higher level in our development.”
Towards that end, he said, the success or failure of corporate Ghana ought to be judged by the quality of the Ghanaian individual, by his knowledge, his skills, his behaviour as a member of society, the standard of living he was able to enjoy and by the degree of harmony and brotherliness in community life as a nation.
In his quest to turn the economic fortunes of the country around, he said his government would work at stimulating “the creative juices of innovators, adding that “we will bring back to life the adventurer in you. It is time to imagine and to dream again; time to try that business idea again. We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy. The doors of Ghana are open again. The shutters are up again. Ghana is open for business again”.
His vision, he said, would be to rekindle the spirit that made Ghana the leading light on the African continent and make conditions in the country deserving of that accolade.
Throwing light on the foreign policy direction of his government, he said: “We will work with our neighbours and friends on the continent to enhance peace, democracy and political stability in our part of the world. We will re-assert vigorously the Pan-African vocation to which our nation has been dedicated. Integration of our region and of our continent will be a strategic objective of Ghanaian policy.”
President Akufo-Addo admitted, though, that it would not be easy and that he and his team had no illusions whatsoever about the enormity of the task that the country faced, but remained optimistic.
“I know that Ghanaians at home and abroad will rise to the occasion; they always do,” he said.
It won’t be easy but…
Restoring hope, progress and prosperity, he said, would require sacrifice but it could be done.
“Others have done it. So can we. Our best days still lie ahead. Though our challenges are fearsome, so are our strengths. Ghanaians have ever been a restless, questing, hopeful people. And we must bring to our task today the vision and will of those who came before us,” he urged.
He listed a number of progenitors in the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition who had displayed astute patriotism and set the pace for the present generation to follow, saying they had shown that fidelity to principles, courage, patience, resilience and collective action did yield results.
“They fought with intelligence, guts, steely determination and patriotism to liberate our land and reclaim our worth as human beings. Their love for country continues to inspire generations of us to commit our lives to the search for an enduring democratic legacy for Ghana. It is not for nothing that when our forebears established the Ghanaian nation, they chose ‘Freedom and Justice’ as our motto. Our generation has to give meaning to this motto,” he charged.