Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has stated that the foundation for the country has been laid with the economy expected to hit GH¢1 trillion in 2024 from a nominal GDP of GH¢262 billion in 2017.
According to him, Ghanaians now have a “safer country” with a more physically and digitally connected society.
Presenting the 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government in Parliament yesterday, the Finance Minister noted that Ghana now has a more educated and skilled population.
“Through our policy approach, the foundation for a country has been laid where: ingenuity is being encouraged; innovation is supported; public service is valued; responsibility is shared; prosperity is shared; and accountability for the custodianship of public resources is prioritised,” he asserted.
He pointed out that this is a marked change from when he first stood before the House on March 2, 2017.
“At the time, ‘dumsor’ had decimated the incomes of businesses and households,” he asserted.
“Mr. Speaker, today, I have highlighted our collective achievements as a nation to this august House. I have also demonstrated how our investments over the last seven years have positively impacted individuals, households, businesses, and communities,” he said.
The minister indicated that the financial sector was weak and near collapse when Akufo-Addo took office, and added, “Trained nurses had stayed home for years without employment. NHIS was in arrears for over a year.”
“A sizable number of Ghanaians were unable to access Senior High School education. Above all, our economic prospects had dimmed considerably.
“I referred then to the biblical story of five loaves and two fishes to illustrate the approach in turning the economy around. I stood here in March 2017 and asked that the country’s paltry two fishes and five loaves be multiplied,” he said.
“Indeed, as the young boy gave all he had to the multitude, so have we and the Lord, in response, has blessed our nation, and this we should not forget,” he posited.
Mr. Ofori-Atta said the government had invested in the future of the country’s children under the Free SHS programme with 1,261,495 students having access to secondary education.
He added that the government had also supported the poor and vulnerable through an enhanced Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme by increasing the number of beneficiary households from 212,545 in 2017 to 350,000 households in 2023, with the aim of further increasing this to 450,000 over the medium term.
“We have invested in providing one hot nutritious meal per day to 3,260,468 pupils in our basic schools and provided a study income stream for 32,496 caterers,” he said.
According to him, the government has again invested the most in the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of major road networks across the country and supported small businesses with GH¢750 million during the COVID-19 pandemic through the CAP-Buss programme and other interventions.
“We invested in making sure that all public workers were paid every month during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the teachers who were paid for all the nine months when the academic calendar was disrupted.
“We invested to strategically establish over 160 factories across all districts under the 1D1F programme,” he noted.
He added that the government was still investing in the expansion of health infrastructure in every district under the Agenda 111 initiative.
By Ernest Kofi Adu, Parliament House