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Ghana- EU Political Dialogue held

capture263The Government of Ghana and the European Union have resolved to continue to enhance their economic cooperation for their mutual benefit.

This took place during the Ghana-EU Political Dialogue held on Thursday, December 6, 2018, under the theme “EU Partnering Ghana Beyond Aid”. The political dialogue is part of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement which stipulates that “parties shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides”.

The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, Her Excellency Madam Diana Acconcia co-chaired the meeting. Discussions during the dialogue focused on trade, investment, business environment in Ghana, migration and human rights, multilateral affairs and regional integration, common action on security and sustainable development among others.

His Excellency Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in his address said the relations between Ghana and the individual EU-Member States had been fruitful over the years. He added that the enhanced relations had resulted in an increase in trade missions from EU Member States to Ghana, which had increased investment that would strengthen Ghana’s capacity towards industrialization.

He stated that the theme for this year’s dialogue “EU Partnering Ghana Beyond Aid” and last year’s theme of “Cooperation Beyond Partnership”  reflect the collective resolve to re-orient cooperation towards the attainable vision of a “Ghana  Beyond Aid “. He also said “the constructive ideas which were exchanged during the political dialogue would help to further transform the economies and uplift the lives of our peoples”.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey (MP) described the political dialogue as a constructive and proactive exchange which would collectively strengthen the Ghanaian economy, make it resilient and robust enough to support its people and also ensure its deep integration into the global economy.

She was hopeful that the EU partnership with Ghana would remain strong and help realize the vision of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”


Ghana Passport Premium Application Centre Commissioned

capture262The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has commissioned a new passport application centre known as the Ghana Passport Premium Application Centre.

The new Passport Centre is to complement the work of existing Passport Application Centres and would employ modern technology in its service delivery. The Ministry has plans to open Passport Application Centres in all regional capitals of the country.

1D1F: President Akufo-Addo Commissions Largest Diaper Making Factory In Sub-Saharan Africa

capture261The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has commissioned the Sunda Ghana Diaper Ltd, the largest diaper making factory in sub-saharan Africa.

President Akufo-Addo undertook the commissioning of the factory, which is operating under Government’s 1-District-1-Factory initiative, on Wednesday, 6th December, 2018, the final day of his tour of the Greater Accra Region, at the Bortianor, in the Ngleshie Amanfro constituency.

With an investment of some $84 million, the Sunda Ghana Diaper Ltd will be one of the largest projects operating under the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative, and will be exporting its products to markets in sub-Saharan Africa.

The company, as part of operating under the 1D1F initiative, is currently receiving incentives such as tax holidays, import duty waivers and interest rate subsidy to help build its capacity and competitiveness, and, thereby, position it greater productivity and efficiency.

Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “we have to attract investment into Ghana like Mr. Y.C. Chang, people who believe that the investment climate of our country is good, the governance of our country is good, and the opportunities for investment in our country are good.”

With Sunda Ghana Limited set to establish two more factories under the 1-District-1-Factory initiative, i.e. Homepro Ghana Limited with an additional investment of USD$26 million and Sunda Hardware Limited with an additional investment of USD$18 million, the President stressed that “what it means is that the work we are doing to strengthen the macroeconomy in our country is not some paper work, it is not talk, talk work.”

He continued, “It has to do with creating the conditions for investment in our country, and that is why it is extremely important for government to commit itself to the discipline that would enable it have a strong macroeconomy.”

President Akufo-Addo assured that “so long as I am your President, that discipline is going to be there in the management of the economy. We are not going to preside over widening deficits, high debts, high rates of interest, unstable currency, erratic power supply. That is not the path of the Akufo-Addo government for Ghana.”

Apart from establishing a strong macro economy, providing good governance, he noted that the other important contribution of government to the economic development of our country is to make sure that Ghanaian industries, and industries established in Ghana, do not meet unfair competition from others.

“So that is another responsibility of government, to create a level playing field for Ghanaian industries. It is establishing industries here in Ghana that we can get work for our young people. When we continue to depend on imports, we are creating jobs for other people overseas. Let us work hard to create jobs here for our people in Ghana, by encouraging investments like what we are seeing today,” he added.

To the Chiefs and people of Bortianor/Ngleshie Amanfro, President Akufo-Addo urged them to “collaborate with our Chinese friends who have shown confidence in our country, and let them see that Ghanaian people know how to conduct ourselves properly, and we know how to conduct ourselves properly.”

Volkswagen, Nissan, Sinotruk Assembly Plants To Become Operational In 2019 – President Akufo-Addo

capture260The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the three vehicle assembly plants for which Memorandums of Understanding have been signed between Government and three global car giants will become operational in 2019.

Speaking at the 7th Association of Ghana Industries Industry Awards on Saturday, 9th December, 2017, the President stated that “we anticipate, also, that the assembly plants to be established by the three global car manufacturing giants, Volkswagen, Nissan and Sinotruk, will become operational in 2019.”

Ahead of that, the President stressed that “a comprehensive automotive industry policy will be launched to provide clear and consistent guidelines for the sector.”   

Whilst fully subscribing to the vision and mission that animated the founding of the AGI, the President indicated that the structural transformation of the economy, and the rapid development of the industrial sector, especially its manufacturing component, are critical to the pace and success of he country’s attempts to deliver progress and prosperity to all parts of our country.

“When the exports of cocoa, gold, timber, oil, and other natural resources, in their raw form, account for over 80% of our export revenue, then we know we have a problem we must urgently address, because raw material producing and exporting economies find it difficult to deliver on a sustainable basis wealth and jobs for their people, and enhance their living standards,” he said.

The President continued, “We all know that the world’s leading economies were developed through industrialisation and value-added activities, and the greatest aspiration any of us could hope for is the realisation of the investment in the collective vision of Ghana becoming an export-oriented economy, driven by industrial production.”

That is why Government, he said, since assuming office some twenty-three months ago, has shown its determination to hasten and accelerate the process of industrialisation.

“We have begun implementing initiatives such as the ‘1-District-1-Factory’ programme, ‘One Region-One Industrial-Park’ policy, the Stimulus Package for distressed companies, the facilitation of investments into new strategic anchor industries such as automotive and vehicle assembly, pharmaceuticals, garments, textiles, and the exploitation of our bauxite, iron ore and manganese resources,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He also stated that electricity tariffs have been reduced by 30% for businesses, 10% for mining companies, and 25% for special load tariff customers, with water tariff also seeing a 10% reduction.

“All these things are being done to stimulate the revival and growth of economic and industrial activities, and I was happy to see growth in the sector rebound from negative 0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017, our first year in office. It is projected to be 9.7% next year,” he added.  

President Akufo-Addo also revealed that, thus far, seventy-nine (79) projects have been implemented under 1D1F, with another 35 going through credit appraisal by officials of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the financial institutions that are supporting the programme.

“Under the Stimulus Package, two hundred and thirty-seven million dollars ($237 million) have been disbursed to 16 companies, with an additional thirty-five (35) being considered for support,” he added.

No More Fiscal Deficits Over 5% – President Akufo-Addo

capture259The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the days of high public debts, high fiscal deficits, high interest rates, rapidly depreciating currency, erratic power supply, will not be a feature of his government

According to President Akufo-Addo, his Government is determined to continue down the road of fiscal discipline, that has seen a marked improvement and strengthening of the country’s macroeconomy in the last two years.

“Indeed, we will, in this meeting of Parliament, legislate a fiscal rule that will outlaw any attempt by Government to generate a fiscal deficit in excess of 5%, in any given year,” he said.

The President continued, “I intend also to establish, shortly, a Presidential Fiscal Advisory Council, composed of reputable economists, which will monitor the performance of fiscal management policy, and advice the President on appropriate measures to be taken to ensure fiscal discipline.”

President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the 7th Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Ghana Industry Awards, on Saturday, 9th December, 2018, when he made this known.

Addressing the gathering, made of business leaders sand captains of industry, the President noted that even though the latest World Bank Index of Doing Business has seen a significant improvement in Ghana’s position, there is still a lot of work to be done to meet the goal of Ghana disposing of the most business friendly environment in Africa, and, indeed, of the world.

“The AGI and Government should work hand-in-hand to improve the business environment, and achieve this goal.  I would also urge our domestic businesses and industries to aspire towards meeting quality standards for their products and services, in order to be able to integrate easily into global markets,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo also called on all private sector players to demonstrate their commitment to contributing their quota to the transformation of the Ghanaian economy.

“Creating wealth and prosperity for the majority of our people is a shared responsibility. My government is a listening one, and I encourage stakeholders to utilise the public-private dialogue platforms, soon to be institutionalised by Government, to address issues of mutual concern in achieving the economic and industrial transformation of our country,” he added.

Reforming Systems To Reduce Human Interfaces Key To Fighting Corruption - Veep Bawumia

capture258The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, says Government is putting in place the necessary safeguards, reforming the existing systems and putting in place measures that reduce human interface in the work process, in a concerted effort to fight corruption.

According to Vice President Bawumia, Government is convinced that these reforms, anchored on the back of digitisation, would also ensure efficiency, contribute to reducing revenue leakages and ensure faster turnaround in service provision.

Vice President Bawumia shed more light on Government’s fight against corruption when he participated in activities commemorating the International Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Day in Accra on Monday 10th December, 2018. The occasion also marked the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights as well as the 15th Anniversary of United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

“It is very important in the fight against corruption, to understand that we need to have the systems in place that would help us prevent corruption in the first place. We’ve been working in a very informal system since Independence some 61 years ago. Our system of governance and general interactions within society has been highly informal, and the existence of that level of informality, the lack of systems, only serves to breed more and more corruption.”

The NPP Government, he maintained, is determined to formalise the Ghanaian economy, and is leveraging on technology to effect reforms such as a paperless clearing system at the ports which has reduced the number of inspection agencies from 16 to 3, infusion of technology in the acquisition and renewal of drivers’ licences and passports, digitisation of land records, issuance of a national ID card, and the implementation of Mobile Money Interoperability to make banking services available to all and perhaps more importantly, be able to reduce revenue leakages.

“We have been very clear in our minds that we need to put in place systems that reduce human interface. Systems that allow for the digitisation of the work process, so that people can have a much more efficient experience in the obtaining of public services,” he explained.

The implementation of these measures, Vice President Bawumia said, had began to yield remarkable results due to reduced human intervention in the processes, resulting for instance in the eradication of middle men in licence acquisition and the abolition of the infamous ‘Long Room’ at the Tema and Takoradi ports, making for faster turnaround times at the ports.

These are things that we haven’t done since independence. In the more advanced countries where corruption has tended to be less, it is because they have the systems in place, by and large, and that is what we are also trying to do, to put in place these systems, and we think that systems such as the E-Justice, E-Procurement and the digitisation across various public institutions would contribute to reducing revenue leakages and ensure faster turnaround in service provision.

He urged all to join the fight against corruption, saying 

“The fight against corruption is a collective responsibility. It cannot, and should not, be left to the Government alone. We must be willing and able to question poor behaviour, poor performance, administrative obstruction, dishonesty, mal-administration, improper use of discretion in administrative decision-making. We must collectively fight corruption in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

The Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Joseph Whitall, commended Government for its commitment to the fight against corruption, noting that the fight must be systematic, deliberate and strategic.

We Are Putting Ghana In A Position To Take Advantage Of 4th Industrial Revolution

capture257The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has indicated that the drive to leverage technology to formalise the Ghanaian economy and ensure greater technological integration in everyday life are geared towards positioning the country to take advantage of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of “The Future of Work in Sub-Saharan Africa” Conference, organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Accra on Monday 17th December, 2018, Vice President Bawumia said the almost infinite possibilities presented by the use of technology is leading to the 4th Industrial Revolution, and it is important for Ghana to prepare herself or be left behind.

“We’re very aware of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We’re trying to position Ghana to take advantage of it. We think that the disruptiveness, on balance, would be quite positive for us, if we position ourselves properly, to take advantage of what is happening” he stated.

Thus, the issuance of a National ID Card, implementation of a National Digital Property Addressing System; completion of the Financial Inclusion Triangle, which allows seamless movement of funds from mobile wallets, bank accounts and ezwitch cards; digitisation of the Drivers’ Licence and passport acquisition process; and the implementation of a paperless system at the ports, among others, are all part of the ways Government is positioning Ghana, Vice President Bawumia emphasised.

Government would also adapt innovative technologies from other countries to suit the unique demands of Ghanaians, making it possible to enjoy greater benefits from technology.

“By 2nd Quarter of 2019, we will be joining Rwanda in using drones to deliver critical medical products, blood products, emergency vaccines, life saving and essential medicines on demand regardless of terrain or road infrastructure.”

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Mrs Christine Lagarde, urged governments in sub-saharan Africa to prepare for the expected population explosion in the next twenty years by harnessing the power of technology to meet the employment needs of their youth.

She commended innovative solutions such as Ghana’s Farmerline, which is helping farmers farm more and earn more on their produce; Kenya’s M-Pesa which has helped with mobile money transactions, and Rwanda’s Zipline, which uses drones to deliver blood and medical supplies to remote health facilities in a timely manner.

Railway Sector Being Resurrected – President Akufo-Addo

capture256The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that the railway sector, which was virtually non-existent before his administration took office on 7th January, 2017, is being revived and resurrected.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, President Akufo-Addo stated that “the existing narrow-gauge network, which had almost disappeared, and led to a generation of young Ghanaians hardly knowing about railways, is coming alive.”

The President explained that rehabilitation work on the fifty-six (56) kilometre narrow gauge line from Kojokrom to Tarkwa through Nsuta is nearing completion, and will lead to the restoration of passenger rail services from Tarkwa to Takoradi for the first time since 2007.

“The freight service from the manganese mine at Nsuta to Takoradi is in operation, and the ongoing rehabilitation has also led to a spectacular reduction in the number of derailments and incidents that occur on the line,” he added.  

Particularly touched by the enthusiasm of the workers, at his last visit to the Ghana Railway Company Ltd., President Akufo-Addo told the media that the company, with its own workforce, has started rehabilitation works on the seventy point eight (70.8) kilometre narrow gauge section of the Eastern Railway Line from Accra to Nsawam and Accra to Tema.

“They did not have or need any foreign experts, so-called, they had the expertise, and those who did not were ready to learn, and they certainly had enough enthusiasm to carry them through,” he said.

The President continued, “Rehabilitation of the Achimota to Tema section of the Line is approximately ninety percent (90%) complete, and test runs have commenced. Work is ongoing on the Achimota to Accra Central section of the line and the Achimota to Nsawam section, and I have been assured that this will be completed before the end of the year.”

As a result, he noted that ten (10) existing passenger coaches have also been refurbished, ready to be pressed into action when commuter services re-open on this line.

“We are not only rehabilitating the old narrow-gauge line. I am happy to report that the procurement process is far advanced to develop a new standard gauge line for the Eastern Railway Line and others for us to have a network that covers the whole country,” President Akufo-Addo indicated.

A major difficulty, which could slow down the work of this exciting development, he said, is the nuisance posed by encroachers, and appealed to all Ghanaians “to join in and be part of this exciting development, and not place any hindrances in the path of bringing modern railways to our country.”     

Aviation, Roads

President Akufo-Addo also indicated that there is a lot of excitement and a lot of activity in the aviation sector, with the entry of two new private airlines offering services along the domestic routes.

“We welcome the competition, as this, already, is bringing down the prices for customers. Terminal 3, at Kotoka International Airport, is open for business and attracting a lot of positive comments. I expect that the managers of this facility will maintain it at the highest standards. The airports at Ho and Wa are ready, and we await the commercial flights that have been promised,” he added. 

The President indicated also that there will be even greater excitement in the country when work on repairing and building many roads around the country intensifies.

With the $2 billion Sino-Hydro project about to take off, he stated that US dollar barter deal should bring a dramatic and very welcome change to our infrastructure developments, especially in the roads sector.

“The roads that are going to be tackled first, under the facility, have been enumerated, and they should make a great and immediate difference to the lives of many people. The first $650 million worth of projects has been approved by Parliament, and are ready for execution,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the professionals who would be supervising and working on the projects must ensure value for money.

“I am aware that there is some anxiety among some people that we might be putting ourselves in a position of too much dependency on China. I am determined that we should use what opportunities there are to raise ourselves out of poverty, but there is no chance that I would ever preside over the loss of Ghana’s sovereignty to any foreign country,” the President assured.

The repayment of the facility, he assured, is through the supply of aluminium products to China, as the country has resisted any attempt to export the raw material for the repayment.

“That is why we have established the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation, a statutory corporation, to take charge of the development of the full value chain of our bauxite resources. The Corporation is ready to begin work. Not only is this an innovative way to raise funds for our infrastructure development, but it also enables us to establish an industry with a metal, which is described as the metal of the future, and which can be a major catalyst for our industrialisation,” President added.

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