President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated that his administration was on track in fulfilling many of the promises it made to Ghanaians in the run up to the 2016 elections.
“We are two and a half years into a four-year mandate, and what I continue to insist and tell the people of Ghana is that, by the end of my mandate, they will see that I came to tell them the truth about what I wanted to do. I didn’t come to deceive anybody,” the President said.
Addressing members of the Ghanaian community in France last Monday as part of his official visit to that country, President Akufo-Addo indicated that over the course of the last two and a half years in office, his government had, indeed, fulfilled a considerable number of the promises made.
“I know that my opponents will be saying something else, but that is their right. God willing, on December 7, 2020, the day of accountability, we will know who is telling the truth,” he stated.
Free Trade Secretariat
President Akufo-Addo made these comments on the back of the announcement by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union that Ghana had been chosen as host country for the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
A statement from the Jubilee House said the President described the AfCFTA as “one of the most important things that the AU has done” and explained that Ghanaians who had been resident in France for some time could appreciate the significance of what was achieved at the 12th AU Extraordinary Summit, held in Niamey, Niger, last Sunday.
“Maybe some of the grey beards can remember 30 years ago, at the beginning of the common market, what France was like, and what it is like today… there is no doubt about the massive impact that the European Union has had on the lives of European people, in terms of increasing their economic circumstances, and we believe that the African Continental Free Trade Area is going to do the same for us,” he explained.
President Akufo-Addo said he was confident that the AfCFTA would offer Africa the opportunity to bring the 1.2 billion people on the continent into active play in developing the continent, adding: “We have to find a way of developing our continent ourselves. We can’t continue to depend on foreigners to develop our continent for us.”
The AfCFTA, he noted, would increase considerably intra-African trade, create millions of jobs for African youth and help the continent develop its enterprises and said the siting of the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana was a great opportunity for the country, especially as Ghana had been at the centre of pan-African matters.
“It is going to mean that all the ancillary activities of AfCFTA are going to be Accra- and Ghana-centred.
It is also a recognition of the contribution we have made to the struggle of pan-Africanism and for the decolonisation of the continent,” he added.
Prof. Atta Mills
President Akufo-Addo paid tribute to the late President John Evans Atta Mills who first moved the motion for the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area in 2011.
“Every country should have its goals and policies that it follows successfully, leader after leader. When national goals are set, all of us who come to occupy the seat of office should then be obliged to follow them,” the President noted.
The President also admonished Ghanaians to cherish their nationality and citizenship and not help non-Ghanaians obtain the national identity card – the Ghana Card.
“Let us cherish our nationality; let us cherish our citizenship. Don’t let any of you be party to any attempt to get the Ghana Card for people who are not Ghanaians.
A lot of the time, it is our own people who are leading this exercise of getting non-Ghanaians our Ghana Card,” he said.
He indicated that the Ghana Card provided certain benefits, such as access to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for Ghanaians.
“We are trying to make sure the NHIS works for Ghanaians and adding non-Ghanaians to that only strains the service. I don’t think Ghanaian taxpayers should be subsidising our health care for others.
I say this with the greatest of respect to those who are not Ghanaians, but if you have the card, then you have access,” a release issued from the Office of the President quoted the President as saying.
President Akufo-Addo, therefore, urged Ghanaians to be vigilant in making sure that only Ghanaians got the card.
“These elections that we have — some people want to translate Ghanaian elections into West African elections. We have not yet got to the situation where Togolese, Ivorians and Malians can vote in Ghana elections.
That should not be the case. Ghana elections should be for Ghanaians, and if all of us are vigilant, we can make sure that that is the reality,” he added.
With the National Identification Authority (NIA) set to complete the registration of all Ghanaians resident in the country by the end of this year, the President indicated that Ghanaians resident abroad would have the opportunity to receive the Ghana Card from next year.
“My own belief is that we should make sure that this process is completed for everybody before we bring the elections overseas. We all know that there are people holding our papers who are not necessarily Ghanaians.
It is not a secret and we shouldn’t be dishonest about it and deny it. It is a fact,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo said if the process of giving each Ghanaian an identity card was “what is going to be able to determine who is and who is not a Ghanaian, I think that we should have that process completed before we can bring the overseas vote into play”.
On the controversial matter of the proposed building of a new Chamber of Parliament, the President said: “I am happy to announce to you also that the matter has been brought to a conclusion.
I hear that today the Public Relations Officer of Parliament announced that it has been suspended. So there it is!”