The Government is seeking to refinance nearly one billion dollars of public debt and liabilities in order to reduce the strain imposed on the national economy as a result of these obligation with a plan that spread the credit over a longer period of time.
Vice President John Dramani Mahama who announced the initiative on Saturday said the restructuring would offer the government the needed respite to focus on delivering its social agenda of a better Ghana to the people.
“The restructuring and refinancing of these debts will make government breath freer and accelerate development”.
The Vice President was addressing a durbar at Ave Hevi to round off activities marking the annual Ave Bliza or Maize Festival of the Ave Traditional area in the Volta Region on Saturday.
Vice President Mahama said the Mills’ administration would not go back on the promises made during the elections, however, “unknown to us the out-going government had piled up lots of debt” which, he said, have negatively affected the performance of the economy.
He said since taking over the reins of power, the government has been saddled with a huge budget shortfall, saying efforts of the government since that time has been to reduce that discrepancy, leading to deep cuts in public expenditure.
He admitted that the resultant austerity measures have caused some hurt, but said these measures were essential in arresting the economy from the doldrums.
He said President Mills was more than conscious of this situation and as a result the government was not engaging in unnecessary expenditures.
Rather, he said strict measures have been initiated to restore the vitality of the economy to create jobs using time-tested economic measures that allow for sustained development.
Consequently, refinancing the debts, he explained, would give the government, the needed breathing space to tackle urgent social development.
One of the critical steps being taken, the Vice President spelt out, was to double investments in agriculture, a sector that two-thirds of the populace subsists for economic activity.
“It is logical that in reducing poverty the government focuses on the thing most Ghanaians are engaged in, which is agriculture.”
He said 2000 tractors were being imported from Brazil to supplement agriculture, while bore holes are to be drilled in selected areas to allow for small and medium holder irrigation schemes in the Ave and other major farming areas in the country.
Vice President Mahama commended the Member of Parliament of Ave Avenor, Mr Doe Adzaho for being an outstanding parliamentarian and encouraged him to continue to bring to bear his sterling qualities on the development agenda of the country, including mentoring fresh legislators when they enter parliament.
Mr Adzaho assured his people that government would not relent in its effort to address the development challenges of the people including extending electricity from the national grid to underserved communities.
The Chairman of the Ave Development Union, Mr Mc-Solo Dziwornu-Ziddah, called for the upgrading of the Ave-Dakpa health and paving the poor road network in the area.
Mr Dziwornu-Ziddah called for repair works to be undertaken on the Ave Afiadenyigba dam’s spillage, which has affected their source of drinking water.
Mr Joseph Amenowode, Volta Regional Minister, promised to team up with the traditional area to quickly address some of the concerns that were raised.
Vice President later donated GH¢1,000 in support of an educational endowment fund organized by the traditional council. He promised to make further contribution to the fund.