Kufuor’s Last Words
President John Agyekum Kufuor yesterday delivered this year's State of the Nation Address to Parliament in accordance with the 1992 Constitution.
The address which was the last from the President dealt principally with the state of the economy, education, modernized agriculture, infrastructural development, oil discovery among others.
Indeed, Ghanaians could cast their minds back to the year 2001, when the new government inherited a tattered economy and was therefore compelled to adopt the painful Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
The truth was that the country was broke and it could not sustain the servicing of its debts. The new policy revived the economy and it took a very short time for the country to come out of HIPC with its huge benefits for the country.
In 2001, the country had reserves to cover only three weeks of imports. But today, the reserves can cover over six months of imports.
Today, the World Bank has rated Ghana as the most attractive place to do business in the emerging markets. It is no wonder that many reputable banks and other financial institutions are flocking into the country to open branches.
During the period in question the educational system in the country was in a very bad state. Monies that accrued from the HIPC fund together with others were mobilized to rehabilitate broken down educational facilities and build new structures.
In addition, the government introduced the Capitation Grant and the School Feed Programme, which together substantially increased school intake and paved the way for all children of school-going age to go to school.
If this trend continues, it would not be long and the war against illiteracy in the country would be won and that would be an important landmark in the history of our dear motherland.
It is a verified truism that it is only through modernized agriculture that the country could feed itself and export to earn more foreign exchange.
With this fact, the government has tasked the research institutions to develop high-yielding seedlings for planting across the country, especially in rural areas.
In line with the saying that “A sound mind is in a sound body”, the government introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to enable many people afford health care and even receive free medical attention.
Although some people are reluctant to join the scheme, as much as 47 per cent of Ghanaians have joined it and are currently enjoying the benefits under it. It is expected that more people would join the scheme this year.
For the past seven years a vigorous infrastructural development programme has been pursued to open up the entire country to facilitate the movement of people, goods and services.
It is gratifying also that the country has discovered oil in commercial quantities in the Western Region.
Perhaps the discovery could be the greatest blessing for the country since the introduction of cocoa in the country over 100 years ago, since the bulk of the country's foreign exchange earnings go into the importation of crude oil.
DAILY GUIDE observes that the President has within seven years done enough for the country and Ghanaians must show their appreciation for that.
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