President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaians that agriculture will continue to remain a top priority of his government.
Speaking at the 2022 National farmers’ day celebrations on Friday, December 2 in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional Capital, he said that several investments have been made by his administration in the sector.
According to him, “The massive investments” made in the sector attest to his commitment to the sector.
“The positive narrative about the government’s support to the agricultural sector is that, unlike several other countries, Ghana is better prepared, and has demonstrated resilience to the current adversities threatening to destabilize our food systems.
“This has been possible because of the sound, pragmatic policies and programmes rolled out at the inception of my stewardship.”
The President further stated that in 2016, his government inherited production levels of 1.7 million metric tonnes of maize and 665,000 metric tonnes of rice.
However, under the planting for food and jobs (PFJ) initiative which he introduced, maize production reached 3.4 million tonnes by 2021 and rice by.2 million metric tonnes.
“The credit must go to our gallant farmers, fishers, and value chain actors who embraced the PFJ policy and leveraged the opportunities created by the enabling environment for agricultural development,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo further noted that plans are far advanced toward the establishment of a tractor-manufacturing farm in Ghana.
He said the initiative will help reduce unemployment and the cost of tractors, adding that “Currently, I am happy to report that processes have been concluded towards the establishment of a tractor assembling plant in Ghana”.
“This will go a long way to reduce the cost of tractors and improve access to tractor parts and create jobs,” Akufo-Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo speaking on the theme for this year’s Farmers’ Day Celebration, “Accelerating Agricultural Development Through Value Addition”, said since 2017, strategic interventions in the agriculture sector have emphasized value addition through the implementation of the One-District-One-Factory flagship programme by the Government.
He noted that “It is instructive to note that one hundred and seventy-two (172) of the two hundred and ninety-six (296) factories to be established under the program are agro-based, processing the rapidly increasing farm output of our farmers”.
He noted that “the sustainability of the cocoa sector is contingent also on how effectively we can fight the devasting effects of the illegal mining menace. All of us, farmers and citizens, have a collective responsibility to bring this environmental canker to a halt if we do not want to ruin the inheritance our forefathers bequeathed us”.
According to him, Government will continue to implement sustainable fisheries management measures to help conserve the dwindling marine fisheries resources and sustain the sector for future generations.
“The development of the aquaculture industry will also continue to receive Government support, as part of efforts to reduce our dependence on our marine fisheries resources”.
He noted that the 2023 Budget presented to Parliament by the Minister for Finance seeks to address these economic challenges through several very difficult, but necessary measures.
“These measures include a debt operation to address our fiscal and debt sustainability concerns. Debt operations alone will not be enough to address the debt sustainability concerns. It is for this reason that we are complementing the debt operations with fiscal adjustments, through improvement in revenue collection and expenditure rationalization measures, to promote debt and fiscal sustainability. This is why the Minister for Finance outlined several revenue and expenditure measures for the consideration and approval of Parliament”.
He continued that these revenue measures include a proposed increase in VAT rate by 2.5%, the review of the e-Levy rate from 1.5 percent to 1 percent and removal of the one hundred cedis (GH¢100) threshold; removal of selected VAT exemptions; implementation of the VAT e-invoicing system; revision of selected excise taxes; complete removal of discount on benchmark values; implementation of the unified property rate collection; and review of the National Fiscal Stabilisation Levy (NFSL) to include all entities which are critical in supporting the fiscal consolidation process”.
He noted that the fiscal adjustment envisaged is not only on the revenue side but also on the expenditure side.
He added that Government is proposing significant expenditure rationalization measures, including a lowering of the cap on transfers to earmarked funds from 25 percent to 17.5 percent; a review of Government flagship programs to reflect relevance, promote efficiency, and ensure value for money; continuing with the thirty percent (30%) cut in the salaries of the President, Vice President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MMDCEs, and political office holders including those in state-owned enterprises; manage public sector wage negotiations and hiring within budgetary constraints, and integrate the public procurement approval processes with GIFMIS and budget allocation.
He called on Ghanaians, in these difficult times, to support these fiscal measures that the Government has proposed for approval by Parliament, to enable us to achieve the goal of restoring macroeconomic stability and promoting inclusive growth, whilst protecting the poor.
He however appeals to the organized Labour, which has proved to be a stalwart, principled “ally of my government in our collective efforts, over these last six (6) years, to build a strong Ghanaian economy, to continue its dialogue with its Social Partners to find rapidly an acceptable solution to the ongoing salary negotiations, a solution which is realistic and fair”.Akufo-addo
– BY Daniel Bampoe
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