“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”
These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference, held in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, on Monday, 13th September 2021.
Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo data and history have proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, that all aspects of national life have witnessed significant improvements under democratic dispensations, in comparison to periods of military rule.
According to the President, “The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.
He added that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially, to six hundred and five dollars ($605) in 1995, declined marginally to five hundred and forty-seven dollars ($547) in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to one thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars ($1,550).
In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that GDP per capita was three hundred and ninety-eight dollars ($398) in 1990, declined to two hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($258) in 2000, and it is now two thousand, two hundred and twenty-three dollars ($2,223).
Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.
“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54%, and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
According to the President, the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education ecosystem, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.
Additionally, he indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and is enjoying the confidence of the increasing numbers of its users, with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019, stressing that “the goal in sight is to attain Universal Health Coverage for all”.
With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Referendum, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people showed through that process their commitment to democratic governance under a Constitution that guarantees the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civic liberties.
“The decision has ushered our nation into the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional democratic governance in her history, which has experienced, under the 4th Republic, three (3) peaceful transfers of power through the ballot box on three (3) separate occasions. The anti-democrats, who are always looking for occasions to sneer at democratic governance, should also bear the following data in mind,” he said.
Bar Conferences, the President explained, became concerned with constitutional rule, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and other matters that were of paramount interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a governance structure that was insulated from authoritarian rule, whether of the one-party Union Government or military variety.
“The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people,” he added.
‘We’ll soon know the truth as to whether Adwoa Safo was in parliament or not’ – Ablakwa
It appears the Minority in Parliament is not giving up anytime soon on the matter of whether Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, was physically present in parliament on Tuesday November 30, 2021 or not.
Despite the MP and Minister clarifying in Parliament on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 on the floor of Parliament that she was the one in the chamber on Tuesday, and that she wasn’t impersonated by anyone as suggested, the NDC minority says that claim is full of inconsistencies.
It emerged on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 that Sarah Adwoa Safo has been absent from Parliament for some time now following an extension of her leave which was granted by the President.
The allegations are that she was impersonated during the proceedings on Tuesday because the Majority side needed the numbers at all cost to approve the government’s 2022 budget, which they did despite the disapproval by the minority side.
The controversy was deepened by the fact that videos and photos of a woman believed not to be the Dome Kwabenya MP in Parliament went viral on social media.
On Wednesday however, Sarah Adwoa Safo appeared in the House insisting that she was in the chamber the previous day and that, suspicions of impersonations must be ignored.
But NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says his side is not convinced.
“Very soon, we will put out all the details we know so far about the incident; which are very troubling. Very soon we will know and get to the bottom of the matter and Ghanaians will know the truth whether she was in the chamber or not. But safe to say, we are not convinced, so far the contradiction are one too many and it is important to state that , this should not be reduced to woman hood or how to dress as a woman at all. It is a needles distortion. That is not the issue at all”, Mr. Ablakwa said.
In the said viral video, the woman was seen wearing a nose mask, leaving the chamber right after the headcount which led to the approval of the budget statement.
However, on Wednesday, Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo appearing with a different hairstyle did not wear a nose mask.
Adwoa Safo dismissed Okudzeto Ablakwa’s claims, saying “I cannot force Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is my friend on the other side, to dress the way I want him to dress, that is an insult to womanhood so those making that noise should withdraw.”
Shortly after her message in Parliament, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, indicated that his side will establish the truth of the matter.
Job creation is our focus – Ofori-Atta
Ofori-Atta will be presenting the 2022 budget today
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921)
The budget will focus on solving the rising unemployment rate in the country
Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed that the 2022 budget will address the rising unemployment issue in the country.
He said the creation of jobs for the youth will be at the centre of the 2022 budget.
Also, the government will create an entrepreneurial environment for the youth of the country to venture into.
“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all,” the finance minister is reported to have said by Joy Business.
“Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” he added.
He also said the budget will focus on improving the revenue situation in the country.
Ken Ofori-Atta will present the budget statement and economic policy of government in parliament today, November 17.
The presentation is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
Meanwhile, economic analysts have asked Ghanaians to lower their expectations of freebies in the 2022 budget.
According to them, the nation is broke and needs to be revamped.
Ken Ofori-Atta presents 2022 budget today
Ken Ofori-Atta will be presenting the budget statement today
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of Act 921
The budget is described as the most anticipated budget in Ghana’s history
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will on behalf of the President lay before Parliament, the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government today.
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016, (Act 921).
The budget, which is termed as the most anticipated in Ghana’s history is said to focus on expanding Ghana’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Finance, ahead of the budget reading in a statement hinted that the budget will among other things dwell on “creating a climate-friendly entrepreneurial state to address unemployment and import substitution.”
It also mentioned the “digitalisation of the economy, skills development and entrepreneurship as among the key issues in the presentation.”
Ken Ofori-Atta in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb stated that the government of Ghana is committed to putting in place measures that will help deal with the unemployment situation in the country as well as recent challenges with the employment of fresh graduates for the public sector.
“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all. Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” the Minister said.
Ken Ofori-Atta, however, noted that creating an entrepreneurial state has been a challenge for the government, and hopefully the 2022 budget to deal with this problem.
Some interest groups including financial and economic analysts as well as professional and trade organisations have expressed varied expectations on the budget.
Whereas some analysts have urged the Government not to introduce new taxes, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has, for instance, appealed to the government to implement policies that would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
Other groups have also called for the widening of the tax net to enable the government to meet its revenue targets.
The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has also called on the government to review the payment of road tolls in the country.
Godfred Abulbire Adogma, the GPRTU general secretary, said Ghana should substitute paying of road tolls with a one-pesewa increment on the Energy Levy.
“When you come to the issue of road tolls, even if the government decides to raise the current amount of GHC1 to GHC2, that wouldn’t be enough.
“So, we have itemised all the reasons and the government could scrap all the toll booths and rather charge an amount per litre of fuel. That can be another measure to prevent revenue leakages,” Adogma was quoted in an Asaase radio report.
On his part, the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Thony Ameka, in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb, warned prices of medicines will increase if the government goes ahead to scrap the 50% discounts.
Eric Anti, Secretary of the Spare Parts Dealers Association at Abosey Okai in Accra, also expressed similar consequences.
But what is contained in the government 2022 budget?