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21 February 2017

High expectations as Akufo-Addo firms up policies with first SONA today

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President Nana Akufo-Addo is set to deliver his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) Tuesday and he is expected to lay out a detailed plan to reform the education and agricultural sectors of the economy.

Joy News has learned that the President will give a detailed account of the state of the economy with emphasis on Ghana’s current debt and deficit levels as left behind by the previous John Mahama-led administration.

It has been more than 40 days since the President took the reins of government from John Mahama, but there have been numerous reports from elements members of the current government and the New Patriotic Party indicating that the state of many sectors of the economy are in dire straits.

From less crucial matters such as how many state vehicles were left behind by the previous government to the real national debt situation, the current government has sought to paint a less favourable picture.

President Akufo-Addo should end the speculation by detailing the true state of the nation.

However, Information Minister, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid has told Joy News Tuesday morning’s address will be significantly different from previous ones.

“It will be quite a little bit of departure from the way other state of the nation addresses had done where other Presidents basically take the country sector by sector and give an account the state of the nation.

“This will not be necessarily a sector-by-sector account,” he said.

High expectations

Expectations are also high as today’s SONA will give an inkling about Nana Akufo-Addo’s grand plan to deliver on bold promises he made during the 2016 electioneering campaign.

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Prof Peter Quartey

Head of the economics department of the University of Ghana, Prof. Peter Quartey, says he expects the President to detail how he will achieve his key campaign promises.

“There have been quite a lot of promises, especially during the elections – the manifesto promises. One can speak of the job creation; one can also talk of the Free SHS policy, one-district-one-factory policy. But as an Economist, I would like to know how these are going to be achieved given the revenue and expenditure situation of the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, figures from the Bank of Ghana reveals that current administration inherited an economy valued at GHȻ44, 608.1 million from the previous government against a total debt stock of GHȻ 112.4 billion — representing a debt-GDP ratio of 67.4% from September 2016 figures.

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Although the currency remained stable, depreciating by 4% against the dollar since September 2016, inflation figures have been unimpressive – some 15.4% as at December 2016.

Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, recently said these economic figures were not “encouraging.”

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Haruna Iddrisu

The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the President must justify his past criticism of the previous administration and show evidence that he can deal with the country’s economic challenges better.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu said today’s SONA “comes as a double-edged thing: an opportunity and a challenge. High fiscal deficit; how does he intend to finance it? How will he do it better against his many promises?

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | GN

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