"A tremendous amount of work has been done.Nevertheless, there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done."-Ghanaian President Mahama

President Mahama President Mahama[/caption] Good Morning, Ladies & Gentlemen of the Media … Thank you for being here, for this First Presidential Press Conference of the Year. A very happy and prosperous New Year to you, and to every one following this event across all media platforms. Today marks one year since I took the oath of office and began my first term as the duly elected President of our dear nation Ghana. In my inaugural address, I invited all Ghanaians, irrespective of party affiliation, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status to join me, in a renewed partnership that creates prosperity and equal opportunities for all our citizens. Over these past twelve months I have been working hard – despite some clear challenges and hurdles – to move our country’s prospects onto a firm and steady path that should truly make our nation great and strong. Together, with the prayers, support and hard work of all Ghanaians, and also the favour of the almighty God, we have not only survived but we have stood tall, as we tackled the devastating impact of a series of mysterious fire outbreaks in some of our markets.  These fires threatened the economic activities and livelihoods of some of our hardworking traders, especially our women. With the commitment, goodwill and determination of all Ghanaians we emerged out of the stormy clouds created by an eight-month-long election petition hearing.  Ghana emerged with her democratic credentials intact and continues to be the beacon of stability, good governance and democracy on the African continent. Despite the adverse impact the uncertainty generated by the petition had on our economy, evidenced by slow growth, postponed investment decisions, and delay of release of pledged donor funds, our economy bounced back in the latter part of the year and we are on track to achieve a respectable provisional GDP growth rate of 7.4% for year 2013. Again, working with organized labour we have been able to bring under control the spate of industial actions that characterized year 2013. While the wage bill continues to exert pressure on the budget, I am certain that understanding of the challenges our economy faces and a spirit of goodwill and consensus building with organized labour will see us through this difficulty too. Dear friends, sisters and brothers … I know we have  hard work to do, so we can improve the living standards of every Ghanaian  child, woman and man – whether it is the farmer or the fisherman, the trader, the businessman or businesswoman; whether it is the skilled professional, the labourer or artisan; the student or the teacher, or the nurse who is dedicated to her job of delivery health care, even under the most difficult circumstances.  Every Ghanaian deserves the best and I am constantly concerned about the plight and living conditions of every one of us. So, I am re-energised and more determined in my desire and ambition to build a prosperous, more stable, and more united nation with great opportunities for all our citizens.  Together, with my team, we are renewing our commitment towards the rapid transformation of the economy, so that we can all enjoy great improvements in the delivery of basic social services and infrastructure, especially for the vulnerable and deprived in our communities. During this first year of my first term as president,  my government has taken a range of important measures to ensure fiscal disciple.  We placed a moratorium on new award of new projects to reduce the deficit, we continued implementation of the single spine salary structure, we improved ministerial responsibility and accountability by having ministers sign performance contracts. In my continuing drive for responsible, transparent and accountable governance, we also began installing pre-paid meters in government offices and bungalows.  Overall, my government wants to be judicious and wise in the way we spend the resources entrusted into our care by the people of this great land. That is why I have banned any use of public funds for the purchase and distribution of Christmas hampers, for example. We want to ensure that the people’s money is used in a manner that brings the best and maximum benefit to our people. Commenced identification and registration of government vehicles. In addition, we are making progress in resolving a number chieftaincy disputes.  We have also taken decisive measures to deal with illegal mining.  In Parliament, we have acted quickly to present and support many important but long-delayed bills, including the Right To Information Bill.  We re-committed ourselves to the fight against corruption, by introducing and monitoring strong anti-corruption initiatives.  We must prevent corruption in every sphere of our national life, and where it occurs we must join together to deal with it forcefully. Dear Friends, my sisters and my brothers … A brand new year is here with us, and we have a bright hope for a great future. In this second year of my first term, we are forging ahead, with faith and fortitude to build on the foundations we have laid. In this new year, 2014, we have greater work to do. In the area of jobs and decent work, I am going to focus on implementing policies that generate jobs, especially for our youth. We are certain that a number of key projects we have embarked on, like the Takoradi Harbour Extension and the construction of the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra, plus several road projects, will deliver some decent jobs. The drive to create jobs is one of the reasons why we have worked hard to ensure that any unscheduled power cut (or dumsor) becomes a thing of the past.  We have made some progress, and load-shedding – that resulted in many days of power outages – has been curtailed. But we not done yet.  We will work even harder this year to ensure that we achieve further and lasting improvements in our power supply.  With reliable and predictable power supply, jobs can be created, as more and more people set up small and medium-scale businesses. In the area of education, we have laid some strong and steady foundations for the construction of a good number of senior high schools. Through these building projects in the area of education we should also be able to generate some extra jobs. I recommit myself to the necessary hard work, dedication and wise leadership for the rapid improvement in  the lives of all Ghanaians. My pledge is to do everything, within the powers invested in me by the people, to take Ghana and Ghanaians to a better place. Together, we CAN make lives better.  We CAN build a more united, more inclusive and a truly better Ghana.  With every Ghanaian engaged and involved and by the grace of Almighty God, we shall attain a Ghana of excellent living standards, and a Ghana that is greater and stronger. We are a nation of great and hardworking people, let’s close our ranks, focus on the things that unite us, and renew our pledges and allegiance to this great land once again. I wish to thank every member of the media for your support, encouragement and constructive criticism.  With your help we can and must do better.  Thank you. I will now take your questions … *Opening Remarks at the Press Conference / Media Encounter Marking  First Year of the First Term as President of the Republic of Ghana Tuesday, 7th December 2014]]>

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