President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated his government’s commitment to bringing the economy back to life by ensuring citizens get the best of health care – saying his administration is on course to deliver the largest-ever investment in the health sector with what he calls Agenda 111 and roll out of vaccines – together with a heavy industrialisation agenda and the Ghana CARES programme.
Delivering his fifth State of the Nation Address as president in Parliament yesterday, in a speech that was highly anticipated to inspire hope in the people by outlining a comprehensive plan for economic recovery post-pandemic, Nana Akufo-Addo rather recounted existing interventions government has already introduced to achieve this purpose.
One of those programmes, dubbed Agenda 111, the president says will see to the construction of 100-bed district hospitals in 101 districts with no hospitals; seven regional hospitals for the new regions, including one for the Western Region; the construction of two new psychiatric hospitals for the Middle Belt and Northern Belt respectively; and the rehabilitation of Effia-Nkwanta Hospital in the Western Region, which is currently on course.
Already, he added, 33 major health projects are approved for implementation at a cost of €890million. Key among them are the Koforidua Regional Hospital, Tema General Hospital, the Nephrology and Urology Centre at Korle-Bu, redevelopment of the Effia Nkwanta Hospital into a teaching hospital, and the construction of a new regional hospital at Agona Nkwanta in the Western Region.
The president added that government will continue to invest in the health sector, and will recruit more health professionals in addition to the 100,000 recruited during his first term.
Further commenting on sustaining economic growth post-pandemic, President Akufo-Addo emphasised the importance of moving the economy from an import-dependent one to one that relies on indigenous production – especially as the pandemic’s early stages resulted in most countries closing their borders to trade, highlighting the need for each economy to look within for solutions to their problems.
“We are determined to make our own things and the Akufo-Addo government will continue with the agenda of rapid industrialisation, with the aim of transforming the structure of Ghana’s economy from one dependent on the production and export of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised economy,” he said.
Giving account of progress thus far under the flagship One-District, One-Factory (1D1F) initiative, the president said 232 projects are at various stages of implementation. These include 76 operating as 1D1F companies, while one hundred and twelve 112 – including 5 medium-size agro-processing factories and 63 Common User Facilities are – under construction.
The president’s speech wouldn’t have been complete without restating government’s ambitious GH¢100-billion Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) programme dubbed ‘Obaatampa’ – which is aimed at transforming, revitalising, and modernising the economy to return it to high and sustained growth for the next three years.
According to the president, key projects under the Ghana CARES programme include supporting commercial farming and attracting educated youth into commercial farming; building the country’s light manufacturing sector; developing engineering/machine tools and ICT/digital economy industries; and fast-tracking digitalisation.
Other projects include developing Ghana’s housing & construction industry; establishing Ghana as a Regional Hub; reviewing and optimising the implementation of government flagships and key programmes; and creating more jobs for young people while expanding opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Another project under the Ghana CARES programme is establishment of the National Development Bank, which the president said is expected to provide support to businesses in Ghana.
Taking into consideration that the president’s speech didn’t state any new interventions or programmes from government to aid in post-pandemic recovery, it is expected that the 2021 full year budget, to be presented in Parliament come Friday, will provide such details.