The Akufo-Addo government has said it has spent in excess of GH¢900 million on trainee teachers and nurses in school since taking office in 2017.
Presenting the 2020 mid-year budget review to Parliament on Thursday, 23 July 2020, Mr Ofori-Atta said: “Mr. Speaker, for us, governance is all about the wellbeing of the people we have been elected to serve”, adding: “Ours is the government for the ordinary people of Ghana. That is why since 2017, we have spent a total GH¢900,531,258.00 in keeping nearly 100,000 trainee teachers and trainee nurses in training”.
Additionally, he said: “We are for the ordinary Ghanaian, that is why, until schools were forced to close down, we were feeding 2,980,000 children every day, 78% more than the 1,671,766 who were fed in 2016”.
Further, he said: “We are in government for every family in Ghana, no matter where you are, that is why we have spent GH¢3 billion to provide free education for 1.2 million senior high school and TVET students”.
Mr Ofori-Atta continued: “We connect with the aspirations of hardworking Ghanaians looking for a push to start or support their small business, that is why 19,000 young people have been trained and some funded to start-up their own business under NEIP”.
“In addition, 97,876 Ghanaians have seen their businesses benefiting from some GH?100 million (GH¢99,302,484) credit facility so far disbursed by MASLOC since 2017”, he told the chamber.
He said the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo feels “the desperation of young graduates struggling to land a job, that is why we have invested GH¢1.6 billion to recruit 100,000 of them under NaBCO”.
“Mr. Speaker, the evidence is all around us. With all the difficulties that the Akufo-Addo administration have had to endure and overcome since January 2017, we stayed focused on the all-important task of making government work for every Ghanaian”, he noted.
He argued that despite the mess inherited from the previous government, the AKufo-Addo government has been able to keep the economy above board.
“We remember all so well, how the previous government imposed the inconvenient and income-sapping dumsor on households and businesses for five years, and insensitively increased electricity tariffs first by 89%, then by 10%, then by 78%, and 28% and finally by 59% between 2010 and 2015 alone”.
“It took courage and care for President Akufo-Addo to do what no other government had been able to do before, which is a net 40 reduction of electricity tariffs by 11% since 2017”, he asserted, insisting: “Such is the higher level of care that today, after nearly four years in office, electricity prices for Ghanaians, households and businesses all included, remain cheaper in both nominal and real terms than what they were before 2017”.
The Finance Minister explained that “the reason is simple: It is because we put the concerns and aspirations of the ordinary Ghanaian first. That is also why we further reduced electricity prices by half and completely provided potable water for free for everybody since March this year. And we will extend it for another 3 months”.
Below were Mr Ofori-Atta’s assertions regarding the government’s social interventions:
• It takes a caring government of the people, and with that, I mean, a Government of all the people, to offer cost-free water to all across the country: representing all domestic and commercial customers in Ghana for three months.
• It takes a caring government to be for the people and for business, large and small, to choose to subsidise electricity consumption by 50 per cent to 4 million (4,086,286) households and nearly 700,000 (686,522) businesses at a cost of Gh¢1.02 billion in three months. And we will extend the coverage for lifeline customers for another 3 months.
• It takes a caring government to hear the distress of business and respond with support to small and medium businesses to the tune of GH¢600 million in order to help them survive and thrive in these uncertain times. The CAPBuSS will be increased by GH¢100 million to help many more MSMEs, including GH¢30 million for the creative arts industry and the media.
• It takes a caring government to establish a Guarantee Scheme of up to GH¢2.0 billion to enable businesses to borrow from banks at more affordable rates and at longer tenor to save their business and retain jobs.
• It takes a caring government to provide seed funding to set up Retraining & Skills Improvement Programme in partnership with Labour, Employers, and Faith-Based Organisations. The seed fund will help workers who are laid off to either improve their skills or acquire new skills to improve their chances of finding new employment or set up their own business.
• It takes a caring government to partner with Labour and Employers to initiate an unemployment insurance scheme to provide temporary income support to workers when they lose their jobs.
• It takes a caring government and its central bank to create an environment for the banks to provide GH¢7 billion to help their clients through loan restructurings, interest rate reductions and granting of new facilities and offering moratoriums on debt 41 servicing. Going forward, Government and BoG will work with the banks to extend some of these reliefs.
• This caring government provided over 2.74 million cooked and dry food packs to the poor and vulnerable persons in Accra and Kumasi during the three-week lockdown, (1,827,581 and 917,142, respectively).
• Today, Government has paid GH¢75.4 million as full cost cover for WASSCE examination fees for all 313,837 SHS 3 students. This is a caring Government.
• A responsive and caring Government is one that, with urgency and military precision, managed to fund and provide the logistical support to supply 5.2 million reusable facemasks, 64,700 veronica buckets, and accompanying sanitisers to all final year students at tertiary, senior and junior high school levels in Ghana to return to school and write their examinations.
• A responsible and caring Government is one that sees it as necessary to show support and appreciation to the 137,000 health workers with reliefs valued at GH¢320 million and provide insurance cover for them at the value of GH¢10.3 million.