“President Mills’ Action Year Is Real”- Minister Of Information

Mr John Tia Akologu, Minister of Information, on Tuesday said the action year proclaimed by President Evans Atta Mills at the beginning of the year was real and has been unprecedented in many respects. He said it was obvious that many historic strides had been achieved in 2011. “The action year so proclaimed by President Mills has been real, it has been remarkable and it can certainly has been unprecedented in many respect,” he told journalists at the meet-the-press series organised in Accra to capture the salient points that have been achieved over the year. On economy, he said, President Mills had given Ghana the most stable macroeconomic climate in the country’s entire history to the extent that all the relevant economic indices point to an economy which is on a sound footing. Mr Akologu said inflation which stood at a worrying 18.1 per cent in 2008 now stood stands at 8.55 per cent and has been at single digit for 18 months, the longest ever sustained period of single digit inflation in Ghana’s entire history. “Interest rates have continued to decline. This is evidenced by the significant reduction in the yied of the 91 day money market instrument from 24.67 per cent in 2008 to 9.1 per cent in September 2011, making it the lowest recorded money market rate in decades,. “The fiscal deficit on cash basis which had skyrocketed in excess of 14.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic product (or 8.5 per cent in new series) and posed a major threat to the stability of the economy at the end of 2008 is at an all-time low of two per cent of GDP,” he said. He said the country had also improved its gross international reserves from two billion dollars in 2008 represent import cover of about one month to 4.98 billion dollars representing four months import cover. Mr Akologu said the gross international reserves realized in October 2011 was also the highest ever recorded in the history of the country. The exchange rate had been stabilized and the very rapid depreciation of the cedis halted. “This year Ghana recorded its highest ever growth rate with provisional estimates showing that the country’s GDP grew by a whopping 13.6 per cent. Only last week the Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave its nod for Ghana to access its largest ever single loan deal ....which will be used to undertake major industrial and infrastructural projects of unprecedented scale from next year. “This will include the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure project, Western Corridor Petroleum Terminal Project, Western Corridor Infrastructure Renewal Project (Western Railway Line Modernization and Takoradi Port Rehabilitation/Retrofit), Sekondi Free Zone Project, Accra Plains Irrigation Project, Accra Metropolitan Area Intelligent Traffic Management Project, the Eastern Corridor Multi-Modal Transport Project, the Development of ICT Enhanced Surveillance Platform for Western Corridor Oil Enclave, SME Projects Incubation and the construction of Coastal Fishing Habours and landing Sites Projects for our fisher folks from Keta to Axim,” he added. Mr Akologu said that would enable Ghana to bridge the infrastructural gap, fundamentally transform the country’s economy and generate thousands of jobs for the youth. On education, he said, the sector remained one of the topmost priorities of the Mills' administration and as proof of that, the action year saw the roll out of vigorous infrastructural development programme to provide the congenial atmosphere for our school children to study. He said over 1,200 schools under trees out of the near 4,000 that existed in 2008 had been replaced with modern six unit classroom blocks and over hundreds were at various stages and would soon be brought on stream to further enhance teaching and learning. “At the SHS level over 300 classroom blocks and dormitories have been completed to ease the acute congestion that resulted from the ill-advised extension of the duration of Senior High Schools from three to four years. “The Capitation Grant has been increased by 50 per cent from GHc3.00 to GHc4.5. The free exercise book initiative gathered momentum and as we speak 42,166,000 free exercise books have been distributed to Ghanaian school children in deprived areas,” he added. He said the Basic School Computerization Programme, school feeding programme and the mathematics, Science and technology Scholarship Scheme were some of the interventions to ensure that parents were relieved off some of the burdens. He said the agriculture, trade and industry sectors and other government interventions aimed at improving the lives of the citizens were on course. Mr Akologu attributed the achievements to hard work, determination and judicious management of the nation’s resources and promised that the government would remained focus in pursuing its “Better Ghana Agenda”.