General News of Monday, 7 January 2019
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said he is confident the country will not lose its sovereignty to the Chinese despite signing a number of agreements with China.
The president was addressing the press in Accra and said he has noted the concerns about the country’s dealings with China – which has seen other countries lose key state institutions to it over failure to meet contractual obligations.
President Akufo-Addo said government is committed to seeking funds to develop the country, and at this moment China remains an avenue for funds which could be used to develop the country.
“For far too long, the lack of money has hampered our development and dampened our self-confidence. 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,” he stated.
He reiterated that government’s commitment in the US$2billion Sinohydro deal is through the supply of aluminium products to China.
“We have resisted any attempt to export the raw material for the settlement. That is why we have established the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation, a statutory corporation, to take charge of developing the full value-chain of our bauxite resources.
“The Corporation is ready to begin work. Not only is this an innovative way to undertake our infrastructure development, but it also enables us to establish an industry with a metal that is described as the metal of the future, and which can be a major catalyst for our industrialisation,” he added.
The president mentioned that the country has witnessed a transformation in key macroeconomic fundamentals during the Akufo-Addo government’s 2 years in office.
Inflation, he cited, has remained subdued and credit to the private sector has picked up. There has been a turnaround in economic growth and the budget deficit has provided enough room for the central bank to ease monetary policy.
He argued that although there is little doubt that salaries and wages continue to be low, an increase in income levels can only come about by expansion and growth of the economy, and this is exactly what his government is working to achieve.
The president further conceded that when it comes to the expenditure pattern in public finances, there is much more room for improvement.
“Public sector salaries and wages are still taking too large a percentage of our public sector finances, and that is why there is never enough money left for us to finance all the things we need to do. Revenue mobilisation is still inadequate. Not enough people are paying taxes or paying at the proper rate, and too much economic activity still takes place without any formal records,” he decried.
To solve some of these challenges, he mentioned measures put in place to formalise and modernise the economy – describing it as the fairest and fastest way to achieve the country’s aspirations.
“The introduction of paperless operations at the port, the interoperability of mobile money transactions, the National Identity Card rollout, e-business registration system, and access to digital financial services are all part of the drive to formalise our economy and enhance its productivity,” he mentioned.