The 69th edition of the Annual New Year School at the University of Ghana opened on Monday, with Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia delivering the keynote address, with strong indications that Ghanaians will feel the economy’s transformation that government is labouring to effect.
Understandably, the Vice President explained that the first year in office was used primarily to lay the foundation – adding that 2018 will witness a positive outlook. He believes this year will witness the largest-ever investment in infrastructure, with focus on rail expansion, roads, bridges, water and rural electrification among others.
The One District, One Factory industrialisation programme should take off in earnest, and the much-touted Zongo Development Fund will be operational – to the delight of inner-city dwellers.
Positives captured in the address include external trade recording a surplus of US$646million as of September 2017, compared to a deficit of US$2billion for the same period in 2016, and generally restoring fiscal discipline in the economy.
Indeed, an economic transformation that envisions a Ghana Beyond Aid is still a distance away; but as the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. The verdict is unanimous that the economy is on the right footing, with most indicators showing positive traits – and that is welcome to a highly expectant population.
To many, especially the nation’s eager youth, the roll out of programmes like the ‘One District, One Factory’, ‘One Village, One Dam’, ‘One District, One Warehouse’ and many other initiatives should create a lot of jobs.
We pray that these initiatives will be pursued with all the seriousness they deserve, and with critical planning so they do not become nine-day wonders.
We also pray that officials put in charge of these initiatives will rise to the occasion and serve their nation with integrity, devoid of the corrupt practices associated with government projects for which huge sums of the taxpayer’s money is allocated.
The country’s economic woes arise from the fact that we still operate an economy that relies heavily on a few primary products which fetch very little in terms of export earnings to finance the numerous requirements of state. The time to correct that is now!