High expectations: Akufo-Addo to present State of the Nation address Feb. 8

President Akufo Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to present his second State of the Nation address to Parliament on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

The President’s address is also expected to reinforce belief in the economy, after he told reporters last month during his first year in office that the economy is rebounding and the major commodity exporter is poised to wean itself off bailouts through sustained fiscal discipline and a battle against corruption.

His address is in accordance with Article 67 of the constitution, and will present an outlook of the state in various sectors of the economy, consolidating government policies and strategies for the country’s development for the next fiscal year.

The Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, confirmed the date when he read the business statement for next week and indicated that all was set for the President’s sessional address for this year.

He urged his fellow legislators “to be punctual for the event”, and indicated that they are to be in the chamber “latest by 9:15am, as it will not be courteous for members to enter or exit the chamber after the President has entered”.

The day before, Parliament will also adjourn early “to enable the planning committee for the State of the Nation Address get the chamber ready for the event before Thursday, February 8, 2018”.

2017 State of the Nation

President Akufo-Addo told parliament during his first State of the Nation address that a three-year International Monetary Fund programme to stabilise national finances had failed to meet its objectives, and he placed the blame squarely on the government he defeated in elections of December 2016.

The fiscal deficit for 2016 was 9 percent of gross domestic product on a cash basis, rather than the target of 5.25 percent, he said, and estimated growth of 3.6 percent last year was the lowest in 23 years.

Notably, in his 2017 presentation President Akufo-Addo accused the Mahama administration of increasing the country’s debt stock to about GH¢122billion from GH¢9.5billion in 2009.

Akufo-Addo said government will build a dam in every village to enable year-round agriculture, start work this year on a railway line connecting the port city of Takoradi to northern Ghana, and tackle the problem of joblessness for young people – which he described as a “time-bomb”.

Among some of the key targets met, the Akufo-Addo administration was able to roll out the Free Senior High School policy, restore both teacher and nurse trainee allowances, and ensured a review of electricity tariffs.

The President, who was sworn into office a year ago, said his government spent the past year stabilising the economy, including clearing huge debts while rolling out infrastructure such as schools and roads.

Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil, is in the last year of a US$918 million credit deal signed in 2015 with the International Monetary Fund to reduce the deficit, public debt and inflation, and lift growth.