President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that the destiny of the country is safe in the hands of his government.
“We have shown, over the last 21 months that the destiny of Ghana is safe in our hands. We have proved, by all accounts, to be good managers of the Ghanaian economy and we have made significant progress in all aspects of our nation’s life,” he said.
Addressing a conference for metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), on the campus of the Institute of Local Government Studies at Ogbojo in Accra yesterday, the President said the past 21 months following his assumption of power “have been inspiring and has impacted positively on the life of every Ghanaian and in every part of the country”.
President Akufo-Addo noted that through the reduction in utility tariffs, the government had brought relief to Ghanaians and “spurring on business and industry, through significant reductions of utility tariffs, contrary to the experience of the previous eight years which had witnessed systematic increases in utility tariffs”.
He said whether in the health or agricultural sectors, the government had revived the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), making the NHIS card very meaningful in health delivery, “or in agriculture, where we have instituted the programme of Planting for Food and Jobs which ensured that this year we did not import a single grain of maize into the country”.
“Whether it is in the economy, where we have increased the GDP growth rate from 3.6 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent in 2017 and engineered a decline in inflation and interest rates; or in education, where we have implemented the free senior high school (SHS) policy which has enabled 270,000 more Ghanaian youth to access senior high school than they otherwise would have done,” the President said.
While acknowledging the successes of the government, President Akufo-Addo reminded the MMDCEs that the successes would come to naught if they did not perform creditably in the next two years.
He called for effective partnership between metropolitan and municipal assemblies which, he said, were in close proximity to each other and located in one functional geographical area.
Such partnerships, he explained, represented the best way to deal with issues such as sanitation, transportation, disaster management, security, among other societal needs.
“Currently, such a system is being implemented in the Accra Metropolitan Area. Together, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and some municipal assemblies in Accra are working to deal with the vexed issue of sanitation. This collaboration has achieved significant results so far. The heaps of rubbish that were once permanent features in the assemblies in question are no longer in existence,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo urged the MMDCEs to also pay particular attention and help in the effective delivery of the government’s flagship programmes such as the free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication.
He told them that the challenge was for them to take advantage of the programmes to bring change to their districts.
“You have the opportunity, through these policies, to change your districts from places where people move from to places where people move to and I entreat you to help ensure the effective implementation and the sustainability of these flagship programmes in your districts, municipalities and metropolises,” he urged.
On the election of MMDCEs, the President said apart from the government working to remove the entrenched clause of Article 55 of the Constitution to permit direct popular election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives, the government was in the process of reorganising the regions to accommodate popular demand for the creation of new regions to bring governance closer to the people.
“If the people of Ghana endorse our quest to make governance at the local level more democratic, you should brace yourselves up to face the electorate directly to account for your stewardship and justify your positions as chief executives of metropolises, municipalities and districts. I believe your performance in office should put you in good stead,” the President stressed.