The President indicated that in spite of 2016 being an election year, the government would not engage in any form of excessive expenditure, as had been the case in every election year, for which price he was prepared to pay.
Addressing senior citizens on a wide range of issues when he hosted them to a luncheon at the State House in Accra yesterday to mark Ghana’s 55th Republic anniversary, President Mahama asked for the support of all Ghanaians to ensure that the government stayed within its budget, even in the election year of 2016.
He said Ghana had made remarkable progress in economic growth, given its classification as a middle-income country, saying that despite that progress, the country, like any other emerging economy, was confronted with economic challenges.
Those challenges, he said, compelled the government to take advantage of an IMF programme that would seek to significantly reduce inflation and interest rate.
He said an initial review of the programme with the IMF had been very positive, saying it was on track to achieve the deficit target of 7.5 per cent, adding that the fiscal tightening would help reduce inflation and interest rate to create a much improved environment for business and investment.
“This positive review will unlock the next tranche of IMF funding which will help improve the Bank of Ghana’s reserve position,” President Mahama said, adding that the release of the multi-donor budget support from the European Union and other partners was also expected to inject more financial resources into the economy.
Touching on governance, he described as unacceptable the high level of partisanship in the body politic.
“So intense is that partisanship that it has affected all segments of society, including educational institutions, academia, the Judiciary and even churches and mosques.
Turning the spotlight on corruption, President Mahama noted that corruption occurred mainly as a result of institutional weaknesses and congratulated Parliament on passing the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) Bill and gave assurance that the government was determined to implement the plan.
He decried the fact that the citizenry was losing the heritage Ghana’s forebears left behind.
Describing society now as too materialistic, he said he had asked the Education Minister to explore the possibility of distributing to schools free copies of a book titled: “Courtesy for Boys and Girls” to help reverse the trend.
A former Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Ms Benedicta Naana Biney, in her address, expressed concern about lateness to functions among public officials and heads of authorities, saying the practice did not augur well for productivity.
Ms Biney, who spoke on behalf of the senior citizens, said although they were on retirement, their expertise was still available for the nation to tap.
Socialisation events were also held in the regional capitals for senior citizens as part of activities marking Republic Day.
At a luncheon in Bolgatanga, two senior citizens in the Upper East Region appealed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, revamp the defunct industries in the region, reports Vincent Amenuveve from Bolgatanga.
According to them, that would help address the problem of unemployment among the youth in the region and further prevent them from engaging in social vices such as alcoholism, drug abuse and "Sakawa".
Making the appeal in an interview with the Daily Graphic at the luncheon, Mr Charles Borme and Mr Edward Besam, retired Principal Records Supervisor and Stenographer Secretary, respectively, at the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council (UERCC), said the reactivation of some of the industries such as the Northern Star Tomato Factory at Pwalugu and the Ghana Rice Production Company at Zuarunguas, would create jobs for the youth.
Speaking at the luncheon, the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr James Tiigah entreated the senior citizens to help guide the youth into contributing meaningfully to the development of the area.
From Ho, Tim Dzamboe reports that the Volta Regional Minister, Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso, in a speech read on her behalf at a reception, congratulated the senior citizens on their contributions to nation-building and impressed on them to extend their good experiences to the young ones.
From Abokobi, near Accra, Adwoa Amofa Osei reports that senior citizens in the Ga East Municipality appealed to the government and individuals to help curb the menace of drug abuse and alcoholism among the youth.
According to them, those vices had become rampant in the country, particularly, in the municipality.
They made the appeal at a Republic Day luncheon organised to celebrate senior citizens at Abokobi yesterday.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the New Ashongman-Musuku Residents Association, Mr Emmanuel Ofori Quaye, said the vices which the youth had adopted would cost the country dearly and advised them to rather focus on their education and other activities that would be beneficial to them.
The Ga East Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr John Kwao Sackey, in a speech read on his behalf, urged the people in the municipality to take interest in the activities of the assembly.
From Sekondi-Takoradi, Akwasi Ampratwum Mensah reports that a number of senior citizens in the Western Region attended a socialisation event which was organised as part of activities marking the 55th anniversary of the attainment of Republican status.
Addressing them, Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, commended the retired public servants for the roles they had played towards national development.
He urged them to continue to offer advice whenever they were called to do so.