Ghana has witnessed an increase in diplomatic relations globally with the expansion of diplomatic Corps, residents, high commissioners and ambassadors from 56 in 2016 to a current 67.
That was achieved due to the country’s bond of friendship with sister countries and shared commitments to world peace.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made the point when he addressed foreign envoys accredited to Ghana at this year’s Exchange of Greetings with ambassadors and heads of international organisations at Peduase Lodge in Accra on Wednesday.
He said this year’s annual event, the first in two years, remained a testament to the rich and fruitful relations Ghana enjoyed with the comity of nations, as well as to the commitment to maintaining strong bond’s friendship and partnership.
Touching on the economy under covid-19, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana recorded a GDP growth rate of 5.6 per cent under those exceptionally difficult circumstances.
He said despite the unforeseen and unbudgeted expenditures during the heightened period of the pandemic, which has exerted enormous pressure on the country’s economy, the government would continue to promote inclusive growth, encourage investments and improve the standard of living of Ghanaians.
President Akufo-Addo said 2020, a year that began with so much promise in Ghana, left in its wake, the loss of lives and livelihoods, a reduced GDP growth rate, and compromised significantly the country’s forward match on the sustained path of progress and prosperity.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that when the first case of covid-19 was recorded in 2019 in Wuhan, China, nothing could have prepared the world, including Ghana, for the turmoil it will eventually unleash months and years down the line.
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo indicated, had not been spared either of the economic ramifications of the pandemic—deaths, job losses and reduced incomes, low GDP—and despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the world remained uncertain about when normalcy will return.
As evidenced by the average annual GDP growth rate of 7 per cent Ghana chalked in his first term in office —2017, 2018, 2019, and part of 2020, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s economy was generally acknowledged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
But the unforeseen and unbudgeted expenditures incurred during the heightened period of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, enormous pressure had been exerted on the economy.
President Akufo-Addo said despite the badly affected economy, the government still found the money to recruit 24,285 more health professionals and spent about GHC1.9 billion to ensure the children and teaching staff at all levels, return to school safely.
The Bank of Ghana, he said, lowered its monetary policy rate by 150 basis points to 14.5 per cent and reduced the primary reserve requirement from 10 per cent to 8 per cent to provide more liquidity to banks to support critical sectors of the economy.
The Ghana Revenue Authority also extended the due date for filing of taxes from 4 to 6 months out of the base year and waived taxes on selected third-tier pension’s withdrawals.
The proactive decisions taken by the government, according to President Akufo-Addo to fight the pandemic, as well as revitalise and transform the economy with the GHc100 billion Ghana Covid-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support, to create jobs and prosperity for Ghanaians over three years, had begun to yield results.
“I am happy to report that the GhanaCares Obaatampa Programme is inspiring the desired dividend that Government anticipated.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD