NewsWest AfricaGhana govt adopts opposition free education plan in president's State of the Nation address


Posted on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 17:45

Ghana govt adopts opposition free education plan in president's State of the Nation address

By Billie Adwoa McTernan

Ghana's President, John Dramani Mahama. Photo©ReutersGhana will look toward boosting its local industries to strengthen its economy, President John Dramani Mahama said at the annual state of the nation address in parliament.


The structure of the economy has been the same since colonial times, Mahama said, with much reliance on the exportation of raw materials.

Some $1.5bn is currently spent on importing rice, sugar, fish, wheat, poultry, vegetable oil and tomatoes, money, Mahama urges, could be otherwise kept in the country if those good were produced locally.

Rice accounted for largest amount of those imports at $374 million, but the president said the country has the capacity to be a net rice exporter.

Finance for the Komenda sugar factory has been finalized, with construction to begin soon. COCOBOD has also been tasked to produce jute sacks.

Last year $1.3bn was lost in exporting revenue due to the fall in gold prices and cocoa production.

Throughout his speech, the president's proposals and summaries were met with jeers and heckles from the opposition.

Not least when he revealed plans to introduce free secondary school, a key proposal made by the opposition New Patriotic Party in the run up to the 2012 elections that was shot down by the governing National Democratic Congress.

Mahama also said that the commissioning for the first batch of community day schools will begin on Monday.

Despite the country's current currency crisis, the president assured that its "economic fundamentals remain sound" and that Ghana still remains an attractive place for investment.

The numbers aren't in Ghana's favour, as the country has a debt to GDP ratio of 52 percent.

While the cedi continues to depreciate, despite new foreign exchange measures to rescue it, some Ghc4bn is needed to fund the national infrastructure gap.

Despite elaborate information on the development of roads across the country, the president, however, was vague on solid plans to rehabilitate the railway system and expand and refurbish airports.

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