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Post-election economy; Stormy ride ahead?

On December 7, Ghana went to the polls to elect a new leader to govern the country for the next four years. After months of political campaigns which saw all the political parties and the independent candidate go round the country to sell their policies to the electorates, the election finally came to an end with the incumbent, President Nana Akufo Addo, receiving the nod to run the affairs of the country for another four years.

The incumbent President polled 6,730,587 out of a total valid votes of 13,119,460, which represents approximately 51.3 percent to win the election while his closest competitor, Mr. John Dramani Mahama of the NDC received 6,213,182, representing 47.35 percent according to the Electoral Commissioner of Ghana.

With Ghana’s democracy being put to test for another time, the country has proven itself to be one of the success stories of democracy on the continent, as the 2020 elections was generally peaceful, despite some pockets of violence at some polling stations.

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in its preliminary analysis of the election indicated that the December 7, 2020, presidential and parliamentary elections were generally conducted according to Ghana's electoral laws and procedures.

“While there were some challenges, these challenges were isolated and did not undermine the process's overall credibility. CODEO commends the Electoral Commission for work done so far, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances that the December 7, 2020 elections were organized. Equally, CODEO recognizes the security agencies' role, particularly the Election Security Task Force (ESTF), for their professionalism and diligence in securing the polls,” CODEO in its report noted.

The 2020 election was no exception to the norm that has characterized the country’s past seven elections since it returned to democratic governance in 1992, as it was keenly contested by the two main political parties in the country; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who are currently in power and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who are the main and largest opposition party.

For the first time in the history of elections in the country, the election was being contested mainly by two leaders who have both done their first terms as Presidents of the country and were competing for the third and final time.

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Although the NDC has rejected the results from the Electoral Commission, calling for an independent audit of the results and have proceeded to the Supreme court over the legitimacy of the election, the EC-declared winner, Nana Akufo Addo, has been sworn in by the Chief Justice to begin his second term as the President of the Republic of Ghana, thus, granting him his second term to govern the country.

Add                                                             President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana

By this, President Akufo-Addo becomes the third President since the country returned to democratic governance in 1992 to receive the nod from electorates for the second time in a row. He follows in the steps of the late former President John Jerry Rawlings and former President John Agyekum Kuffuor.

With the President now officially at seat, it is time for everyone to come back to the drawing board as the country looks at ways of fixing an economy which has been hardly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his inaugural speech, President Akufo-Addo pledged to build a stronger economy that would create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth of the country.

He said the last four years had taught him that Ghanaians would no longer accept poverty and deprivation as their portion, but were rather determined to work to chart a path of growth and development for themselves.

He said his second term would therefore focus on establishing a strong economy and undergoing structural transformation to value-added activities, which will generate jobs for the youth and enhance their living standards.

PRE-ELECTION ECONOMY

Ghana’s economy was on a growth trajectory with the fiscal deficit declining from 6.8% of rebased GDP in 2016 to 3.8% in 2018 and 4.8% in 2019, excluding cost of the one-off financial sector bailout.

The country also recorded primary balance surpluses for three years in a row: 0.5% of GDP in 2017, 1.4% in 2018, and 0.9% in 2019 compared to a deficit of 1.1% in 2016. Inflation dropped steadily from 15.4% at the end of 2016 to 7.9% (rebased) at the end of December 2019, the trade balance recorded a progressively large surplus in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

However, the impact of the COVID-19 has erased all these economic successes that were chalked with the country’s economy suffering its first recession in 37 years as it contracted on two consecutive quarters.

The economy contracted by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 and contracted again by 1.1 per cent in the third quarter.

With things somehow normalizing now, the country’s economy is expected to record a positive growth in the last quarter as it is projected to grow at 1.5 per cent, which would be one of the lowest growths in the history of the country.

Debt has also ballooned to GH¢273.8 billion, representing 71 percent of GDP as at end September 2020. The budget deficit is also expected to widen to 11.4 percent by end of 2020.

These present a huge challenge for the second-term Nana Akufo Addo’s government which is expected to quickly fix the economy, create jobs for the youth and return the country to the path of growth.

Thus, it is imperative to take a look at the post-election economy and how the manifesto of the winning party (NPP) will serve as the blue print for a quick economic turnaround post COVID-19.

From all indications, the new government is in for a tough ride as it tries to fix a ‘devastated’ economy that is almost completely dependent on borrowing.

The ruling government in its 2020 manifesto stated that “our plan over the next four years is to build on what we have achieved together. Incorporating the lessons learnt from the pandemic, we will consolidate the progress we have made on all our flagship policies, programmes, and initiatives across the various sectors.

Unemployment

Unemployment continues to be one of the major problems faced by the country, with a recent World Bank report indicating that the country was faced with 12% youth unemployment and more than 50% underemployment, both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries. The report highlighted that despite major investments by both government and private sector, this challenge will intensify if job opportunities remain limited.

This presents a major headache for the next Akufo Addo’s government which is expected to tackle this problem heads on.

The World Bank report titled ‘Youth Employment Programs in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation’ identified some key areas which it believes the government must focus on to increases job opportunities for the youth.

They include agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism and sports.

The World Bank also called for more investments in career guidance and counseling, work-based learning, coaching, and mentoring to equip young people with the skills needed for work.

Commenting on the World Bank report, the former Minister of Employment and Labor Relations, Mr. Ignatius Baffour Awuah said the government had specific options to guide it in the short to medium-term to enhance effective coordination of youth employment programs.

To tackle youth unemployment, the report highlights the importance of having disaggregated data on youth jobseekers by location, gender, skills and capabilities to inform policy and funding decisions and respond with appropriate and tailored employment programs.

“Ghana's youth employment challenge is vast and requires an all-round, deliberate, and consistent response,” said Pierre Frank Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

speaking head“Considering the options outlined in this report, future youth employment policy planning should not only address youth unemployment but should also build the human capital needed to sustain Ghana’s economy,” he stated.

The next government would also be tasked to create the necessary environment that will help unearth the entrepreneurship skills and ideas of the youth since its one major area that can help solve the unemployment problem.

Not everybody will find a job in the public or formal sector, so graduates must be encouraged to develop their own businesses.

Out of the over 200,000 students who graduate from the various universities in the country, the government is able to absorb only two percent of them into the public sector. The government is, therefore, expected to put in place measures that would encourage some of these graduate to take up the entrepreneurship challenge to create jobs for themselves and others.

 Budget deficit

After keeping the budget deficit under control and below the five per cent of GDP threshold, the country was forced to abandon the fiscal rule that was introduced in 2018, as the budget deficit is expected to widen to 11.4 percent at the end of 2020 as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning

Presenting the 2020 mid-year budget, the former Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to a shortfall in revenue, while expenditure on the other hand had increased due to COVID related expenses, thereby widening the budget deficit to 11.4 percent by end of 2020.

He said a shortfall of GH¢5.3 billion in petroleum receipts and lower tax income was expected to widen the revenue gap to GH¢14 billion, while spending on the other hand was expected to increase by GH¢13 billion.

The fiscal cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is enormous,” he said.

The World Bank is, however, projecting a much lower budget deficit of 7.2 percent for the country by year end.

The huge budget deficit presents a big hurdle for the next government who are expected to reduce it to around five percent in the next four years. This will require creative measures from the government that would control expenditures and increase revenue mobilization.

Public debt

Another headache for the new government is the country’s rising public debt which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that it was reaching unsustainable levels.

Having already come under attack with its debt management strategy in its first term, the government is expected to introduce more innovative ways to sustain and control the country’s debt.

Ghana’s debt currently stands at GH¢273.8 billion, representing about 71 per cent of GDP according to data released by the Bank of Ghana at end September 2020.

Image EHon. Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, former Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament

Speaking in an interview with the Vaultz Magazine, the former Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament and a former member of the Economic Management Team, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah, said the government had done fantastically well with regards to debt management over the last four years.

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“The government has done fantastically well with regards to debt management. By end of 2016, the debt had reached GH¢122 billion after eight years of NDC’s rule. When Kuffuor left office in 2009, it was GH¢9.5 billion.

“Granted that when President Mills and Mahama came into office, they had decided that they are a very prudent government so they won’t borrow and will just manage the debt that has been bequeath to them. At a rate of 20 percent a year, it means the debt will be growing by GH¢2 billion every year.

“The borrowing attracts interest so at GH¢2 billion per year, if you compound it by 8 years that is GH¢16 billion. Let’s even be generous and add another GH¢16 billion and that should have been GH¢32 billion which then takes our debt to GH¢42 billion; that is if you were being prudent,” he explained.

He said the country, however ended up with a debt of GH¢122 billion by the end of the NDC’s eight years’ rule.

According to Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, the high rate of increment of the country’s debt under the NPP is because, what they inherited was so huge.

At GH¢122 billion, using the 20 percent interest rate, annually, it translates to GH¢25 billion so end of four years, that alone is GH¢100 billion and if you add the GH¢122 billion, that gives you GH¢222 billion.

“The debt has ballooned because what we inherited was so huge. So, even without doing anything, the interest alone was huge. Apart from the interest payments, the financial sector clean up, the government has used about GH¢25 billion for that. In the energy sector, the NDC had signed power purchase agreements all over, take or pay and on annual basis the government is paying about GH¢5 billion for power that is produced that we don’t use. So, if now we are hovering around GH¢273.8 billion, it tells you that debt management has been superior and the government has restrained itself,” he stated.

GDP growth

With the economy suffering its first recession in 37 years, the next Akufo Addo’s government is presented with a huge challenge of reversing the negative growth and returning the country on to the path of positive GDP growth.

In a speech after his re-election, President Akufo Addo assured Ghanaians that his next government would quickly restore economic growth.

He said his immediate task will be to begin the process of reversing the effect COVID-19 has had on the economy and the lives of people.

Image FPresident Nana Akufo-Addo’s Inaugural Address

speaking head“Before the pandemic struck, Ghana in recent years was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and, I give you my word, we will bring back that reputation,” he stated.

The government in its 2020 manifesto indicated that its number one priority is to stimulate growth, development, and investment in the real sectors of the economy, particularly in agriculture, industrialization, and digitization by ensuring macro-fiscal stability, and engendering the economic transformation of the country.

“Consistent with our vision of building a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, we will leverage the growing formalization of the economy to deepen and widen our ability to mobilize domestic revenues by continuing to broaden the tax base, simplifying the filing of taxes, and improving collection regimes,” the manifesto highlighted.

Economic turnaround

The NPP government has often credited itself with turning the economy around when it took over the running of the country in January 2017. The government has often complained about the state of the economy they inherited in 2017, describing it as an ‘economy which was on its knees and heading for a collapse’.

Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, re-echoed this sentiment, stating that the NPP government had done it before by turning around the economy in 2017 and was therefore capable of fixing it one more time.

He said the Ghanaian economy was stagnant by 2014, which led the NDC government to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund in April 2015 under an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) program.

He said by the time the NPP came into office in 2017, the ECF programme had derailed, with all targets being missed.

speaking head

“All targets had not been met. So, the first thing we sought to do was to achieve and maintain macro-economic stability because without that you cannot do anything meaningful. To assess any economy, you look at the indicators and if compare all the indicators the NPP inherited in 2017 to the current indicators before COVID-19 struck, then clearly on every single front, we performed better than them.

“If you take inflation, we inherited inflation rate of 15.4 percent, now we are in single digit. The economy in the last year of the NDC in 2016 grew at 3.3 percent, we took over and it first grew at 8.4 percent, then 6.3 percent. The rate of the depreciation of the currency has been lowered, and interest rates have been reduced.

“If you compare the end 2016 number to the end 2019 number, there is not a single macro-economic indicator that had not been improved significantly. We exited the ECF programme with a clean bill of health,” he explained.

He said this was an indication that the government was capable of fixing the economy once again.

Oil dependent growth

There have been lots of critiques who have argued that economic growth in the last three years had been largely dependent on oil, following the coming on board of the two additional oil fields.

Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, however, disagreed with the assertion, arguing that the NDC government were rather the ones who benefitted most from the country’s oil discovery.

“The NPP left office in 2008 under President kuffuor and we had then discovered the first oil field which is Jubilee. It was the NDC that largely benefitted from the discovery of the oil to the extent that in 2011, the economy grew by 14.3 percent because of oil.

“This growth was three years after the discovery of oil. In 2016 when they were growing at 3.3 percent, the oil had not gone away, it was still there. These two new discoveries, TEN and Sankofa only came on board mainstream in 2019 and the production levels now are woefully inadequate.

“The first time that we recorded production from Sankofa and TEN was in 2019; so, how do you explain the 2017 and 2018 GDP growth numbers which were only Jubilee dependent?” he quizzed.

 

Exchange rate  

On the exchange rate argument, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, said looking at the yearly depreciation rate, the NPP had performed better.

speaking headBecause we are an import dependent economy, we will always need forex to import the essential drugs we need, the poultry products, the rice and all the things that we need. We still import a lot of the essential goods we need; so the currency will always depreciate but what is the rate of depreciation?

“In 2008, one cedi was equal to one dollar, when the NDC were leaving, one dollar was equal to US$4.2 and now we are at US$5.7 which is not that bad,” he said.

REVIVING THE ECONOMY POST COVID

On how the new government intends to revive the economy post COVID-19, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, said “even before we get to the revitalization stage, we have to applaud the Finance Minister and his team for the stabilization phase.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic striking, nobody knew where to turn and this was the first time we were seeing such a pandemic. How we have been able to stabilize the economy and supported the citizens must be commended.

“We have stabilized the economy and we are ready to take off. We will take off with the COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalization of Enterprises Support (CARES) programme,” he said.

  

‘CARES’ programme 

The major economic policy program in the new government’s political party’s (NPP) manifesto which it has titled ‘Leadership of Service; Protecting our Progress’, is the GH¢100 billion CARES ‘Obatanpa’ programme.

The former Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, launching the CARES program in November 2020, said it will provide the blue print for the country’s economic recovery, revival and transformation post COVID-19.

He said, the CARES program was ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ in action and its implementation would restore growth to Pre Covid-19 levels and return the fiscal path to be within the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2018 (Act 982) threshold of 5% deficit and positive primary balance by 2023.

The principal objectives of the Ghana CARES program include; the Stabilization Phase (July to December 2020) and the government’s priority for this phase was to implement interventions that ensure food security and that protect businesses and jobs.

In view of this, and among several other measures, this phase of Ghana CARES would increase the original GH¢600 million soft loan program, dubbed the Coronavirus Alleviation Program-Business Support Scheme (CAP-BuSS), by an additional GH¢150 million to support MSMEs (GH¢700 million) and also, the Creative Arts, the Media, and the Conference of Independent Universities (GH¢50 million); establish a GH¢2 billion Guarantee Facility to support all large enterprises and for job retention.

This, the government believes, would enable these businesses borrow from banks at affordable rates and over long tenors to adjust to the pandemic and to retain jobs.

The government also intends to set up GH¢100 million Fund for Labor and Faith-Based Organizations for retraining and skills development (Retraining Programme); establish an Unemployment Insurance Scheme to provide temporary income support to workers who are laid off due to the pandemic; ensure food security for the rest of the year; intensify support to the “Planting for Food and Jobs” and “Rearing for Food and Jobs” programmes; and provide financial support for the National Buffer Stock Company and the Ghana Commodity Exchange.

It also seeks to implement a range of employment retention & support services to large enterprises including: clearing contractor arrears; paying new contractors more quickly; increasing government procurement for local businesses.

In terms of infrastructure, the government has promised to construct a 100-bed hospital in 101 districts that currently lack such facilities, a regional hospital in each of the six new regions, a new regional hospital in the Western Region, rehabilitation of the Effia-Nkwanta Hospital, and build two new psychiatric hospitals as well as infectious disease centers for each of the three ecological zones.

It has also promised to build local capacity in the housing and construction industry, strengthen the housing mortgage and construction finance scheme initiated by Government and selected banks, and take measures to facilitate access to land for housing by estate developers.

Revitalization and Transformation Phase

The revitalization and transformation phase of the CARES program is expected to span between 2021 to 2023.

Over this period, the government has promised to invest in activities aimed at accelerating the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.

Specifically, it intends to pursue the establishment of Ghana as a regional hub by leveraging the siting of the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Ghana, and will include the establishment of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

The government also seeks to review and optimize the implementation of its flagships programmes such as the ‘one district one factory’, the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ and the ‘free SHS’ policy.

The party in power (NPP) also promised to complement the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative with a targeted programme to support the activities of the Ghana Tree Crop Development Authority in promoting selected cash crops, support commercial farming and attract educated youth into agriculture.

It also plans to build the country’s light manufacturing sector, including its capabilities to manufacture machine tools to support industrialization; fast-track digitization of government business as well as build a digital economy; strengthen the enablers of growth and transformation by taking strong measures to improve the business environment for the private sector.

In all, the government is estimating the CARES programme to cost GH¢100 billion, with the government expected to raise GH¢30 billion of this amount, while the rest is expected to be raised from the private sector.

Commenting on whether the CARES programme was not too ambitious, Dr. Assibey-Yeboah said I don’t see anything ambitious in spending GH¢100 billion in three years. With the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) office in country, Ghana has become a hub and so, we have to make it a financial services hub.”

Continuing with flagship programmes

The ruling government in its manifesto also indicated that, it would improve on the over two million public and private sector formal jobs it has so far created and support the informal sector to formalize and create better-paying jobs.

The government also intends to rebuild the agricultural sector through the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), stimulate industrial growth through one district one factory, fill its physical infrastructure gap with roads and bridges, transform the delivery of government services through digitization, and curb bribery and corruption through greater transparency in a digitized environment.

It also plans to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation, invest in building human capital through education, and build a safer, stronger and more prosperous Ghana.

“In tandem with this, we intend to create much greater scope for the participation of the private sector in delivery of these public services, proof of effectiveness which we have demonstrated in many of our digitization initiatives,” the manifesto noted. 

Industrialisation

On industrialisation, the government intends to support made-in-Ghana products, including supporting the use of local raw materials, continue to ensure stable and affordable power for industrial development, promote the manufacturing of digital devices locally, continue to work with the private sector to establish more Special Economic Zones for manufacturing and support them with “last-mile” infrastructure services, and finalize the establishment of the bauxite refinery to complete the aluminium value chain.

It also plans to complete the establishment of an iron and steel industry through the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC), continue the process of providing gas infrastructure to bauxite refinery sites, deepen and expand one district one factory in diversity and national coverage, process more cocoa and shea-butter locally, and deepen the Automotive Assembly industry.

The government has also revealed its intention to produce at least half of country’s sugar needs locally within the next four years, promote the local production of pharmaceuticals, complete the process of establishing a fertilizer producing plant in Ghana, and for light manufacturing, renew the emphasis on component assembly, not just for automobiles, but for home appliances, including electric fans, refrigerators, and air-conditioners to meet the growing domestic demand.

Agriculture

With agriculture being the backbone of the economy, the government plans to accelerate efforts in modernizing agriculture along the entire value chain, including expanding the Agricultural Mechanization Centers, support for farmers through: increased supply of inputs, enhanced involvement of farm extension officers to work with farmers and breeders, increased disease control, improved warehousing and post-harvest logistics, and tighter linkages with industry mainly through one district one factory.

It also plans to diversify export-oriented, large scale agricultural enterprises in cocoa, palm oil, legumes, cereals, rice and horticulture, poultry and meat for regional markets; large-scale private sector investment in processing, packaging and export of agricultural produce; and promotion of import substitution, with special focus on rice, sugar and poultry by scaling up supply of improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, promoting consumption of locally produced rice, sugar and poultry, supporting the private sector under the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) policy with subsidized day-old chicks, feed, and vaccines.

“We will also support soya bean production for the production of poultry feed, enhance small ruminant production with supply of improved breeds of sheep and goats,” the manifesto stated.

It also highlighted the implementation of the Greenhouse Village concept, focusing especially on the youth; activities under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) with the rapid growth of the Ghana Tree Crop Development Authority (GTCDA); the development of the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam, and access to finance through subscription to the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) programme to finance and de-risk private sector investments in farming and other agricultural value-chain activities.

Physical Infrastructure

On physical infrastructure, the manifesto noted that “the provision of roads, highways, railways, water and sanitation infrastructure will continue to be a major focus of the next Akufo-Addo government. Our decision to set up a separate Railway Development Ministry, the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) and the Development Authorities, as well as the Ministry of Inner City and Zongo Development, and the Zongo Development Fund, has led to significant progress in adding to our railway infrastructure, in the provision of basic infrastructure at the local level and for special disadvantaged communities like the Zongos and Inner Cities, as well as the construction of new roads under the “Year of Roads” Programme.

Flagship Infrastructure Development Initiatives over the next four years are expected to include; strengthening the capacity of Development Authorities and the Zongo Development Fund, to enable them attract private investors to develop infrastructure in their catchment areas and, give priority to completing all on-going projects under the flagship infrastructure policies of “Year of Roads”, “Water For All”, “Toilets For All” as well as other local infrastructure, including, but not limited to: infrastructure such as drains, culverts, feeder roads, classroom blocks, school furniture, CHPS compounds markets, toilet facilities among others as part of the efforts to bridge the infrastructure gaps at the community level.

Others include the Marine Drive Project; extending electricity to cover the entire population, and completing Yendi, Tamale, and Damongo Water Supply Projects; commence construction of the Sunyani and Keta Water Supply Projects, the Weija Dam Rehabilitation Project, decommissioning and re-engineering of landfill sites including the Kpone (Tema) and Oti (Kumasi) landfill sites, Roads, Railways, Ports and Harbors.

The government also intends to use Public-Private Partnership to accelerate the development of road infrastructure through toll-financing; finalize its public transport policy for a network commensurate with the needs of a fast growing economy; launch the biggest ever road maintenance infrastructure programme, as part of improvements in its existing road infrastructure and as a source of major job creation for the youth.

Energy and Petroleum

On energy and petroleum, the government plans over the next four years to increase efficiency and ensure value-for-money for all activities, including reliable and affordable power generation and distribution, and further development of the oil and gas sector, as well as renewable sources.

speaking head

“We will pursue this goal through the following measures: enforcing competitive procurement of power, the least cost fuel procurement, and minimizing excess capacity charges through the ongoing renegotiation exercise to improve upon the financial health of the sector, reducing losses, particularly in power distribution, by ensuring ECG and NEDCo implement incentive-based loss reduction targets for all District Managers, and significantly improving revenue collection with the implementation of remote sensing technology which is currently being piloted by ECG.

“We will also complete ongoing rural electrification projects to ensure transformation of our rural economies, continue the Auction-Based Licensing strategy for exploratory Oil Blocks to ensure value for money, and enforce Local Content policies for the Upstream and Downstream sub-sectors.”

 

Housing Plan

Ghana is faced with a huge housing deficit, which is now estimated to exceed two million housing units.

In the second term of the incumbent Government, its plans to lay greater emphasis on housing delivery through the following initiatives:

 Renting

To address the short-to-medium term market failures in the renter-segment of the housing market, the next NPP Government intends to establish a National Rental Assistance Scheme (NRAS). In partnership with the private sector, the Scheme will provide low-interest loans to eligible Ghanaians to enable them pay rent advance. These loans will be repaid on a monthly basis to match the tenor of the rent, and will be insured to ensure sustainability.

Government will seed the Scheme with GH¢100 million which will be leveraged to crowd-in additional investment from the private sector. The Scheme will target individuals (both in the formal and informal sectors) with identifiable and regular income. The rent advance loans will be paid directly into the bank accounts of landlords, who would have to register with the Scheme.

As part of our interventions, the government also plans to implement the necessary regulatory, institutional, and operational reforms of the Rent Control Department, including the digitization of their operations, to enhance delivery, and make it better able to serve the changing needs of market players, including landlords and tenants. A new Rent Control Act has been drafted for review by Cabinet in this direction.

With the country’s housing deficit being particularly acute for low income households, the government plans to address this segment of the market by building low-income housing estates over the next four years, using local materials by working with the Building and Roads Research Institute and private developers. Land banks have been secured for this purpose, and the houses will be available for rent, rent-to-own, or outright purchase.

“Under an accelerated ‘National Housing Programme’, the number of housing units, currently being delivered annually nationwide by both the private and public sectors, will be increased threefold. The NPP Government will set-up two anchor institutions: a Ghana Housing Authority (GHA), and a National Housing and Mortgage Finance Company (NHMF), working together but with different roles to drive the housing delivery process.

“The Ghana Housing Authority (GHA) will improve the legal and regulatory framework, create land banks, provide infrastructure, and standardize houses. The NHMF will establish financial arrangements for the demand and supply side housing markets by managing the Mortgage and Housing Fund set up in the 2019 Budget, provide incentives to enable the private sector build communities’/housing units, and create jobs in the process across all MMDAs in the country.”

In all, it is clear from the manifesto of the ruling government (NPP) that they seek to transform the country’s economy, create jobs, boost infrastructural development and create wealth for all Ghanaians.

But like every party manifesto, the implementation is what is important and as to whether the re-elected government would be able to deliver on its mandate and successfully implement all the policies and programmes in its manifesto, only time will tell.

Dr. Assibey-Yeboah was, however, confident that his party-led government would not disappoint Ghanaians.

“We are poised to deliver our second term and if you look at what we have done, it would have been a travesty should Ghanaians not retain us. Ghanaians must have confidence in the government. When you look at the foundation laid, the next term would be beautiful,” he stated.

elect

 

In conclusion, the NPP government has a huge task ahead to manage an economy which has been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that ‘fourmore4Nana’ has been confirmed, it is time for the President to fasten his seat belt and roll up his sleeves for the tough ride ahead.

Dalex Finance has announced a zero percent interest rate on DalexSwift loans for three months as part of measures to relieve Ghanaians of the devastating effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

This was announced by the Chief Executive Officer of the Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson.

According to the CEO, the new offer will reduce the challenge that Dalex clients...