President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated his determination to steer the economy back on the path of growth.
He has, however, called on the clergy to pray with him in this challenging period to enable him to execute that mandate.
The President, who stood in front of the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Rt Rev. Professor Obiri Yeboah Mante, for special prayers, asked the clergy, as well as all Ghanaians, to pray for him, so that God would give him wisdom, strength, courage and compassion to enable him to execute his duties as a good leader.
He made the appeal when he addressed the 22nd General Assembly of the PCG in Abetifi in the Kwahu East District in the Eastern Region last Saturday.
The event, on the theme: “Christ in You: The Hope of Glory”, was attended by reverend ministers and commissioners from the various presbyteries, both in the country and the Diaspora.
It was to take stock of activities of the church since 2019 and discuss the way forward.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Dan Kwaku Botwe; the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, and some municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) in the region.
President Akufo-Addo said since 2020, the country had been experiencing a difficult economic situation, mainly as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and recently the effect of the Russia-Ukraine war.
He said the hardship was due to the rise in the prices of fuel, foodstuffs and freight charges which had led to increased inflation.
“I’m fully aware that these are very difficult times for us Ghanaians,” he admitted.
The President, however, expressed the hope that the country would successfully go through the challenges.
He mentioned the government’s GH¢100 billion Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) ‘Obaatan pa’ programme for the post-COVID-19 economic recovery and revitalisation of the economy, which he said was being implemented to help address the challenges, with prospects in the medium term.
“Akufo-Addo will not throw up his hands in despair; I’m determined to bring relief to Ghanaians and return the economy back to the path of growth in a country that was one of the fastest growing economies in the world before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he assured the gathering.
With regard to the country seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said it was a major step in the right direction to resuscitate the economy in the short term.
He said other steps would be taken, particularly in respect of the depreciation of the cedi.
High cost of food
President Akufo-Addo added that the high cost of food had been a major cause of concern to the government and expressed the hope that the current season’s successful harvests would help reduce the high cost of food in the country.
He further said arrangements were being made with market women and their queens to provide them with trucks to evacuate foodstuffs from the rural areas to urban centres to help reduce the cost of food prices.
He said the government would also be encouraging companies manufacturing inorganic fertiliser to scale up production to reduce the impact of the high cost of fertiliser.
That, he indicated, would be followed with the establishment of fertiliser manufacturing plants in the country.
Rt Rev. Prof. Mante, in his welcome address, said the PCG admired the manner in which the President and his team had managed the harsh impact of the global economic crisis on the economy.
He said no one could deny the devastation done to those efforts by unforeseen events and forces outside the control of the nation, explaining that that had made it necessary for the government to go back on its earlier bold and dignified resolve not to go to the IMF.
The Moderator, therefore, called on all to unite in support of renewed efforts to rebuild the economy to shorten the country’s stay with the IMF for it to pursue a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda as a national project.
With regard to youth unemployment, he pointed out the government’s decision to address the problem through the Nation Builders’ Corps (NABCO) was commendable, since it served a good purpose in the past four years by reducing the burden on young people of the country looking for jobs.
Rt Rev. Prof. Mante noted that the unavailability of resources had forced the government to end the programme when it was not clear that the job market had improved for the youth.
He urged the government to extend the NABCO programme, while efforts were made to find a sustainable solution to the socio-economic and security challenges posed by youth unemployment in the country.
He also appealed to the government to pay salary arrears owed the NABCO workers.
Rt Rev. Prof. Mante also urged the Christian community to step up the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, saying it was through that medium they could give hope of a better future to the nation.