Ken Ofori-Atta is a national asset – Akufo-Addo

Author: Jasmine Arku

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta as a national asset.

The President’s statement comes on the back of calls by the Minority in Parliament for Mr Ofori-Atta to either resign or be sacked over a report by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) which cited him for breaches of the law, guidelines and processes in the $2.25-billion bond issuance.

Read also: Minority calls on Finance Minister to resign over issuance of $2.25 billion bond

But in his second State of the Nation Address to Parliament Friday, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Economic Management Team led by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, of which Mr Ofori-Atta is part, has caused the world to take notice of Ghana’s economic strides.

“The world is taking notice of Ghana’s economic strides. Earlier, in January, the World Bank stated that Ghana’s economy would probably grow by 8.3% this year, which would make it the fastest growing economy in the world.”

“Last week, Bloomberg described Ghana’s Stock Exchange as the best-performing Stock Exchange in the world for January 2018. The report illustrated how the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index has gained 19% since the start of the year, in dollar terms, ahead of the Nigerian, Chinese and Brazilian Stock Markets. Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, is proving to be a national asset,” he said.

Below is what President Akufo-Addo said on the state of Ghana’s economy

We have reduced taxes, we are bringing down inflation and interest rates, economic growth is increasing, from the alarming 3.6% at December 2016, to 7.9% in our first year, and the indications are that it will be even better this year.

We have increased our international reserves, maintained relative exchange rate stability, reduced the debt to GDP ratio and the rate of debt accumulation, we have paid almost half of arrears inherited, and, crucially, we are current on obligations to statutory funds.

I am also pleased to report that the 3-year IMF-supported Extended Credit Facility Programme, begun in 2015, comes to an end this year. The relatively good macroeconomic performance in 2017 will strongly support our successful completion of the IMF programme.

We are determined to put in place measures to ensure irreversibility, and sustain macroeconomic stability, so that we will have no reason to seek again the assistance of that powerful global body.

We have restored teacher and nursing training allowances. We have doubled the capitation grant, and, to confound the sceptics and professional naysayers, we have implemented Free Senior High School education. It has enabled 90,000 more students gain access to Senior High School education, in 2017, than in 2016.

We have, nevertheless, been able to meet my promise made last year to the House, and reduced the fiscal deficit from 9.3%, to an estimated 5.6% of GDP.

The annual average rate of debt accumulation, which, in recent years, has been as high as 36%, has declined to 13.6%, as at September 2017. As a result, the public debt stock as a ratio of GDP is 68.3%, against the annual target of 71% for 2017, and end 2016 actual figure of 73.1%.

As a result of appropriate policy, and the normalisation of the power situation in the country, they have also engineered a spectacular revival of Ghanaian industry, from a growth rate of -0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017.

For the first time in a long while, our macroeconomic fundamentals are solid, and all the critical indices are pointing in the right direction.

The world is taking notice of Ghana’s economic strides. Earlier, in January, the World Bank stated that Ghana’s economy would probably grow by 8.3% this year, which would make it the fastest growing economy in the world.

 Last week, Bloomberg described Ghana’s Stock Exchange as the best-performing Stock Exchange in the world for January 2018. The report illustrated how the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index has gained 19% since the start of the year, in dollar terms, ahead of the Nigerian, Chinese and Brazilian Stock Markets. Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, is proving to be a national asset.