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What Prez Mahama Said @ 2016 Maiden Council Of State Meeting   
 
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19-Apr-2016  
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President John Dramani Mahama has asked political leaders contesting this year’s general election to conduct themselves in a manner that will not raise the political temperature in the country.

Underscoring his desire to personally lead the way by doing everything in his power to calm the political atmosphere in the run-up to the polls, the President called on the National Peace Council and other stakeholders to impress on the other contesting political parties to run a calm campaign.

President Mahama made the call at his maiden meeting of the year with members of the Council of State at the Flagstaff House yesterday, during which he responded to some issues of national concern.

Led by their Chairperson, Mrs Cecelia Johnson, the members of the council met the President, in line with the norm, to raise critical issues of national development, including security, terrorism and the 2016 general election.

Attack on EC

On the elections, President Mahama expressed concern over the penchant by some political parties to consistently attack the Electoral Commission (EC), adding that the rumpus over the creation of a new logo for the EC was unnecessary, since it would not directly impact on the quality of the elections.

He said Ghana’s EC was one of the best election management bodies in the world, having conducted six successful elections, noting that the EC required the support and encouragement of all to conduct yet another election slated for November 7, this year.

“The government will continue to give the EC the support it deserves to conduct free and fair elections,” he added.

Aside from providing logistical support for the EC, he pledged to equally resource the security agencies to swiftly deal with thugs who would disturb the electoral process.

Terrorism

Responding to the issue of terrorism that had become a menace of global concern, President Mahama said a counter- terrorism unit had been set up at the National Security Secretariat to swiftly respond to any terrorism threat in the county.

Following recent terrorist attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, he indicated that he had held two National Security Council meetings to get the country prepared in the event of an attack.

While pointing out that terrorist attacks often emanated from outside a particular jurisdiction, he said it could also be occasioned from within, for which reason he asked the citizenry to report any suspicious characters to the security agencies.

Economy

Turning the spotlight on the economy, President Mahama stated that the decision to go into a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was to ensure that Ghana did not suffer the negative effects of the fiscal pressure that came with elections.

He said currently the deficit to GDP had reduced to 7.2 per cent from the 2013 figure of 12 per cent and added that the target was to hit 5.2 per cent.

Reaffirming the government’s commitment to eliminate wasteful expenditure, he alluded to the fact that Africa’s average growth had been pegged at three per cent but expressed optimism that Ghana was on track to achieve between 3.8 and four per cent growth.

Infrastructure

President Mahama spoke about the ongoing massive road infrastructure, saying that “this government will be credited for its impressive record on road infrastructure”.

He touched on the construction of community day senior high schools, four of which he had so far inaugurated, adding that 12 more had been completed and awaiting inauguration.

On health infrastructure, he said the government had set for itself to provide each district with a first-class hospital.

He mentioned Fomena, Wa, Tolon, Buipe and Sawla as some of the district capitals where work was ongoing for a hospital.

The President added that the construction of the Ridge Hospital and the University of Ghana Teaching Hospital was on course and added that work on phase two of the Tamale Teaching Hospital was progressing steadily.

Council of State

Earlier, Mrs Johnson had congratulated the President on making the country proud on the international front with his appointment by the United Nations as Co-chairman of the 16 eminent persons mandated to champion the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She acknowledged the fact that some development was taking place within the national arena, saying they were positive developments that inspired hope of accelerated and sustained development through meaningful growth in the not-too-distant future.

Mrs Johnson, however, expressed concern over some developments which had the potential of undermining the collective effort of propelling the country to enviable economic heights and prosperity.

She expressed confidence in President Mahama’s promise to ensure fiscal prudence in the election year, adding that “our conviction is inspired by your record of taking bold, necessary and sometimes painful decisions when the situation demands”.

Power

On the fragile power situation, Mrs Johnson cautioned against any form of complacency, since experience had taught that the power sector could be unpredictable.

She underscored the need for cautious optimism in addressing the subject and stressed the need for the effective management of public expectation through sustained education on the complex nature of power delivery.

On the need to beef up security in the wake of the terrorism threat on Ghana, she called for extra vigilance and public education, especially for those residing in the border areas to report any suspicious characters and movement of goods.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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