I extend a hearty akwaaba, our word of welcome to the Excellencies, the distinguished leaders of sister states from our region and continent, as well as two eminent representatives from other friendly nations and international organisations who are gathered here in the vibrant city of Accra capital of Ghana, to join us on this auspicious occasion.
I thank each and every one of you for being present at this inauguration of my second mandate. COVID-19, notwithstanding. Your attendance is an expression of solidarity and friendship that speaks volumes of your attachment to the goals and aspirations of the Ghanaian people and state, for which we are very grateful.
I must say at the outset, express my warm congratulations to my good friend and colleague of many years in this house, The Right Honourable Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin on his assumption of office as the Speaker of the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Nearly three decades of devoted service to Parliament by you has culminated in this moment, which has seen your elevation to the third grade Office of State of our great nation. Together, you and I will be chartering new territory in the governance and politics of the Fourth Republic, but this is the first time in the life of the Republic, that a president from one party will be obliged by the exigencies of the moment and the will of the people to work in all sincerity and cooperation with the speaker of Parliament from another party.
I’m confident that both of us will be guided in our relationship, by the Supreme interest of our people in ensuring good governance in the ordering of the affairs of state. I want to show you my wholehearted determination to work with you to advance the peace progress and prosperity of the Ghanaian people. Once again, many congratulations to you and the re-elected and new members of parliament.
A few moments ago. I took for the second time, the oath of office to serve as president of the republic of Ghana. I follow in the exalted footsteps, or two of my predecessors, the first and second presidents of the Fourth Republic. The Excellencies Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kuffour who served two successive terms in office.
I cannot therefore take this honour and privilege bestowed on my modest self, lightly. I thank Almighty God, and the Ghanaian people who by an emphatic margin renewed my mandate in office for four more years in the elections of 7th December.
It is a demonstration of the confidence and trust you, the Ghanaian people, have reposed in me not only in appreciation for the achievements chalked throughout my first four years, but more significantly to the considerable amount of work that is to be done over the next four years. In our drive to take our nation firmly onto the path of progress, prosperity, and development. Following the havoc wrecked by COVID-19.
This is a task I wholeheartedly accept. And I assure all Ghanaians that I will do my best to deliver on this mandate.
The accomplishment of his mandate is going to take place within the context of Ghana’s maturing democracy, the Ghanaian people have manifested, time and again in these 28 years of the Fourth Republic, that determination to build a free democratic peaceful nation, which is respectful of individual liberties and human rights, the rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability and the governance structure built on the separation of powers provides the best vehicle for the protection of these values with a well-resourced judiciary and parliament is the principal accountability organs of the state.
This has been the main thrust of public policy these past four years, and will continue to be so in the next. The unity and stability of our country are the welcome outcomes of such a development.
This is how we can ensure in the words of one of the great figures of Ghanaian nationalism, Joseph Boakye Dankwa, we have “a system of government and those who are in control of government are under the control of those who are governed.”
The sheer can do spirit of the Ghanaian, which I have witnessed all my life is the bedrock on which we can build the Ghana of our dreams.
Indeed. Four years ago at my first inauguration, I asked all Ghanaians to be “citizens and not spectators.” I appealed to me to be active participants in the effort to help build the gamma we want the democratic free and prosperous and united Ghana envisaged by our founding fathers, is the black star of Africa.
In my first term as President, I was able to count on the contribution of all citizens in attempting to create this Ghana. What I’ve seen these last four years, is further evidence if anywhere needed that the Ghanaian will no longer accept poverty and deprivation, as his or her portion, but is rather determined to work to chart a path of growth and development for himself or herself.
Today, our economy. Even in the face of the global pandemic of COVID-19 continues to show resilience in a much faster rate of recovery than originally envisaged. And was indeed one of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2020. Ghana remains one of the most attractive destinations on the continent, for direct foreign investment. The presence in the country of some of the world’s largest conglomerates attesting to this fact.
Establishing a strong economy undergoing structural transformation to value added activities, which will generate jobs for our young people and enhance their living standards will be the main preoccupation of my second term.
Together, we are ensuring that the basic tenets of social justice are met. Many said it was beyond us. But we have ensured the financial considerations, no longer determine the fate of a child. Because of the implementation of the free senior high school policy. Once willing and able, senior high school education, is the minimum education to be received by every Ghanaian child.
Access to quality healthcare is no more a luxury ordinary people cannot afford. Following the revival of the national health insurance scheme. Our aim is to reach a universal health coverage as soon as possible. Food production has increased significantly and a conscious effort has been made to improve the living standards of our farmers.
The newly constructed constructed warehouses dotted across the country are storing the surpluses for export to our neighbours, and the programme for planting for food and jobs, has become the veritable rock with a successful future our agriculture is being built.
Our roads are being constructed at a much faster pace than before. Yes, I acknowledge that there are still more kilometres to construct. We defined last year is the year of roads. This year will be the second year of roads. As we continue with our focus on dealing with a deficit in our road infrastructure.
The development of our rail sector on which considerable resources and energies are being devoted will open up the country, and lead to the creation of a more connected society and will also help realize the goal of regional and continental integration.
The arrival of COVID-19 drove home the lesson to all of us, that we have to be self-reliant, the pandemic has emphasized the fact that we cannot continue to be living on edge in a day to day economy. This is dangerous for our survival. And it’s important that we set up buffers of protection in all aspects of our lives.
So when there was a shortage in the supply of personal protective equipment. At the time when they were being sold at extortionist prices in the world market, the enterprise of the Ghanaian shown through.
We produce right here in Ghana, our own sanitizers, facemask, medical scrubs, gowns, liquid soaps, amongst others.
We can indeed build a Ghana beyond aid if we make full use, as we must of the enterprise and ingenuity of our people, especially our young people. The prominent role being played by young people in the digitization journey of our nation is strong proof of the feasibility of this objective and Ghana is set to become one of the most digitized economies in Africa, in the next few years.
In this same vane, I expect the locally produced Eku Juice, one of the results of government’s one district one factory flagship policy to replace, rapidly, the imported fruit juices on the shelves of our supermarkets. Not because anyone will so decree but because the quality of the locally produced one is as good if not superior. I doubt, Mr Speaker, that anyone would ordinarily mention akpeteshie, the local gin, as a possible item on the world market. I cannot vouch for its taste or potency since I gave up alcohol many years ago.
But I can say that the made in Ghana and beautifully packaged ‘apio’ I have recently seen can compete, the most sophisticated markets in the world. My boundless confidence in the energy of the Ghanaian makes me believe that we can become the prosperous nation we aspire to and soon. We have good reason to be proud of what we have been able to achieve so far.
We know that the democracy we seek to build and entrench in Ghana will ultimately succeed, and to build a prosperous nation and our people are at peace with themselves and with the world.
I pledge before this august house and the good people of Ghana that, all I do will be for the common good.
And with a firm foundation laid in my first term of office, we should take a significant step towards reducing the infrastructure deficit that has placed us all throughout our nationhood.
The remaining 15% of our communities, without electricity will be covered by the end of my second term.
We have already began constructing hospitals in the remaining districts that do not have one. The process which will be completed within the year. The percentage of Ghanaians without access to potable water is set to reduce significantly following the commencement of work on a number of water supply projects across all parts of the country.
The majority of our people live in unacceptable housing, and we should tackle the problem with vigour.
With discipline and caution, just as we have done since March 2020, we in Ghana can continue to reduce the number of active cases of COVID-19, which currently stands at a little over 900 and open up our country again to the rest of the region, continent, and the entire world. We’ve taken the bold step of reopening all our schools, again, because our fundamental conviction that education is the key to our future. We will do everything possible to ensure not only the safety of the children but of teachers and non-teaching staff as well.
We Ghanaians have always been very much aware of our place in our neighbourhood, in our continent and in the world.
We recognize that poverty and insecurity plagued our region; thus, we shall continue to make our points carry the weight of our convictions and contribute to making our world a safer and happier place. We shall play our full part in the deliberations and activities of all the organisations to which we belong: ECOWAS, the African Union, Commonwealth, the Francophonie, the United Nations, and others. Ghana, which has the privilege of hosting the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area intends to be one of the main drivers of its success, the AFC FTA provides us Africans, with a great opportunity to exploit and develop our resources for the benefit of our people. And end the centuries of exploitation of our continent’s vast wealth for the benefit of others.
In the words of the historic first leader of our nation, celebrated Kwame Nkrumah, “It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problem that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we’re weak; United Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.”
To my fellow Ghanaians. I invite all of you to join the exciting business of developing our country. There are endless opportunities if we remain united. What our forebears dreamed of, we will achieve. If we inherited dreams and visions from our founding fathers, we should leave legacies of achievements and realities to our children and their children.
I believe in the limitless prospects of Ghana and of us, her people. So, let us be up and doing and with faith in the almighty seize our destiny.
Mr Speaker, may God bless us all and our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong. Your Excellencies, once again, akwaaba and thank you for your attention.