I welcome all of you to Jubilee House, the seat of our nation’s presidency. You will recall that, on Thursday, 21st January 2021, I submitted to Parliament for prior approval, through its Speaker, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the names of forty-six (46) persons to serve as Ministers-designate and Regional Ministers- designate for the second term of the Akufo-Addo Presidency.
Yesterday, 4th March, and today, 5th March 2021, I have received communications from the Speaker that the nominees for Ministers-designate I presented, with the exception of the Minister-designate for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, who, for medical reasons, was unable to attend the hearings of the Appointments Committee, have been approved by the House through strong bi-partisan endorsement. Unfortunately, the Minister-designate for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West, although approved, cannot be present with us today because he is indisposed. I have, thus, sworn into office, this evening, twenty-eight (28) of the thirty (30) nominees I sent to Parliament. I must, perforce, express my sincere gratitude to Parliament, that is to the Rt. Hon. Speaker, to the Honourable Chairperson and Honourable Members of the Appointments Committee, to the Honourable Majority and Minority Leaders, and to all Honourable Members of both sides of the House, for the expeditious and thorough manner in which the scrutiny of my Ministers was carried out. It is a concrete manifestation of the positive co-operation between the Executive and the Legislature that, I hope, will characterise our relations in the next four (4) years.
I am, particularly, appreciative of the fact that the work of Parliament, despite the challenges and impact of the COVID-19 environment, has enabled me to constitute the Government before the 64th Independence Day celebration. As a result of today’s ceremony, the country goes into its national celebration tomorrow with a government in place.
Newly sworn Ministers, the entire nation followed keenly your individual interactions with the Appointments Committee. In those sessions, you exhibited your capacity to act as Ministers of State for all to see, and justified to the country the confidence I have reposed in you to serve in government.
I have had the opportunity to sit and work with many of you in my first term of office. Some of you are new to the workings of Government. Nonetheless, I am confident that, together, we will work to realise the vision of the mandate given to me by the Ghanaian people in the victory of 7th December 2020, a victory which, yesterday, 4th March, was unanimously upheld, in a lucid, well-considered judgment, by a seven (7) member panel of the Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice.
Honourable Ministers, I can call you that now, as you have just sworn the three oaths – that of allegiance, that of office, and that of secrecy. The sum total of these oaths that you have solemnly sworn is that you have pledged to uphold the interests of the Republic, its Constitution, and its citizenry, and to dedicate yourselves to the promotion of their general well-being.
It is a heavy responsibility, especially since the Ghanaian people have, in clear and emphatic terms, demanded we protect our progress and transform Ghana for all. In the last four years, we had the opportunity to translate promises into concrete programmes. We were, for three consecutive years, prior to COVID-19, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a GDP growth rate averaging 7% per annum. We have become the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa; we have become a net exporter of food; we have started adding value to our raw materials; we have strengthened the accountability organs of the State to enhance the fight against corruption; we have revived the National Health Insurance Scheme to facilitate affordable healthcare for ordinary people; and all our children have been guaranteed a minimum of senior high school education. Above all, we have committed ourselves to the rapid industrialisation, modernisation and transformation of the economy. Indeed, we are in the process of putting this nation onto the path of sustainable progress and prosperity.
Satisfied with this, the Ghanaian people have given us four more years to do more for them. So, as you assume your roles in government, I urge you to provide leadership that will ensure that the work on which we are embarked benefits the progress of our nation, and helps raise the living standards of our people. That is why we are here, and that is why the Ghanaian people voted for us. I am assured that the various backgrounds and experiences of each one of you will bring value to the governance of our nation, and enable us to deliver on the commitments of our Manifesto, the sacred compact that ties us in the New Patriotic Party to the Ghanaian people.
It is important, as we strive to provide good governance for our people, that we remember at all times the changed nature of the political environment in which we are now operating. The vote of 7th December has resulted in a virtual tie in representation of the two (2) major parties in Parliament, which means that we are obliged to seek broad consensus in the manner in which we implement our decisions.
As I indicated in my Inaugural Address some two (2) months ago, my boundless confidence in the energy of the Ghanaian makes me believe that we can become the prosperous nation to which we aspire, and soon. We have good reason to be proud of what we have been able to achieve so far. The Ghanaian people have placed their hopes for a brighter future on us. I am looking forward eagerly to working with you so we can, together, realise their hopes, and fulfill the dreams of the founders of our nation to build, under God, a democratic, free, prosperous and united nation, the Black Star of Africa.
I congratulate you on your appointments, and wish you Godspeed in the discharge of the high duties of your offices as Ministers of State.
May God bless the 2nd government of the Akufo-Addo presidency, and us all, and may God bless our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.