Port Rates in Ghana to Go Down – President Akufo Addo

by Kofi Ayim

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has promised Ghanaians that the exorbitant custom and excise taxes at Ghana’s ports will soon be a thing of the past.

“I am not talking about next year, or in six months’ time, I am talking very, very soon,” he emphasized to a thunderous applause.

The President made this commitment during a Q & A after a thirty- minute presentation to Ghanaians at a capacity-filled Town Hall at Worcester State University in Massachusetts on March 30, 2019.

He said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government inherited an economy in deep crisis but, within two years of his government, all the fundamentals are pointing in the right direction – GDP has been growing, and the projection this year is 7.9%, making Ghana’s economy one of the fastest growing in Africa.

“This growth is taking place against consistent expansion of the Ghanaian economy in industry, agriculture, education, health system, among other [areas].” He added that total delivery of healthcare to Ghanaians has not yet been achieved, given the fact that there was an inherited debt of GHS1.2 which had to be paid.

He added that it was prudent to introduce free senior high school education because the wealth and health of any nation is inherently linked to the investment of its human resources, and pointed out that the United States has had a giant economy because it was the first to introduce a free high school education system in the world.

“The commitment we made (in free SHS education) was not for election purposes; it was for the development of Ghana.”

He quickly conceded challenges in the structure of free education, “but we will deal with it,” he assured.

The President, who received a surprise belated birthday chorus from the ecstatic crowd, added that in the near future no Ghanaian without at least a first degree would qualify to teach in the education system.

He also said that Ghana, with all its land and natural resources, until recently imported plantain and tomatoes from the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, but that has been reversed due to the success of the Planting for Food and Jobs Program initiated by his government.

“We did not deceive Ghanaians with electoral promises; we are gradually fulfilling our promises,” he added with confidence.

On energy, the President pointed out that with the assistance of Sino Hydro Corporation of China there is the opportunity to establish an integrated Bauxite and Aluminum Development Corporation that will help Ghana to develop a full-value chain of bauxite resources with a $2 billion barter arrangements.

In the same vein, the Ghana Iron Ore and Steel Development Corporation will soon be established to do same for the vast iron ore and manganese deposits in the northern and western parts of Ghana.

Car manufacturing companies like Volkswagen of Germany, Sino Truck of China, and Nissan and Suzuki of Japan are in active negotiations about establishing plants in Ghana, because the fundamentals of Ghana’s economy are firmly rooted. The IMF’s 7th and 8th Reviews on the economy of Ghana saw Ghana exit the program.

“What I am saying to Ghanaians,” he charged, is that “in the 62 years of Ghana Independence, this is the 16th IMF bailout program that the nation has gone into. Let it be the last.”

The President observed that henceforth fiscal discipline and responsibility would be the guide to keep Ghana away and out of IMF bailout programs for a healthy economy and confidence that will bring in investors.

He made a passing comment on the re-emergence of dumsor (erratic electricity supply) but assured a permanent fix. He opined that the menace of vigilantism that has bedeviled Ghana would be resolved once and for all.

“We will act and deal with the phenomenon of vigilantism in Ghana one way or the other,” the President promised.

He said the long-standing chieftaincy problem in Dagbon has finally been resolved and peace restored due to the efforts of the Committee of Eminent Traditional Rulers chaired by the Asantehene.

He said taxpayers’ money used to protect and prevent conflict and disturbances for the past twenty years during the standoff at Dagbon can now be channeled into productive ventures for the area.

The President pointed out that he personally fully supports ROPAA, the legislation that was passed to allow able and qualified Ghanaians in the diaspora to vote, but quickly added that it is the outright preserve of Ghana’s Electoral Commission to cause it to happen.

He also made the same reference with regards to the special prosecutor and his inability thus far to jail perceived corrupt officials.

In a brief welcome address, Barry M. Maloney, the 11th President of Worcester State University, enumerated the role of Ghanaians in the 145-year-old school and invited Ghanaians elsewhere to come study at the school.

Mayor Joseph Petty presented a key of the City of Worcester to President Akufo-Addo.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration announced that the validity of Ghana’s passport is extended from five to ten years as of April 1, 2019 and work is in the pipeline to reduce passport processing fees.

At the podium with the President were Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S.; Mrs. Martha Pobee, Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the U.N.; Mr. Francis Asenso, Deputy Chief of Staff; and Nana Asante Bediatuo Esq, Secretary to the President.

In a post-event chat, Ghanaians praised the government on the bold initiatives it has thus far taken, but were not enthused about perceived corrupt officials still walking free in Ghana and the circles that ROPAA has been subjected to.

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At press time, the Ghana government announced reductions of general import duties by 50% and duties on cars by 30%. The new rates are effective April 4, 2019.

Posted by on Apr 10 2019. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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