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Detailed: All questions asked by journalists at President Akufo-Addo’s media encounter today

President Nana Akufo-Addo earlier today had an encounter with journalists drawn from diverse media outlets to discuss issues of national concern.

The encounter today is the fourth time the President is opening himself up for questioning having done same in July 2017 and January 2018 with the last edition taking place in December 2018.

The president had earlier made a case for such meetings arguing that it was a crucial approach to engage Ghanaians and take criticisms to shape the government’s flagship programmes and policies.

Find below  questions posed by journalists at today’s encounter

The first set of 5 questions were asked by journalists from GhOne, Citi TV, GTV, Metro TV

From Citi FM – Sammy Wiafe asked about the manner in which the Banking sector crisis was handled. He quizzed:

  1. Mr. President many have said that your government could have handled the banking crises in a better way without people losing their jobs. Because we are told of how billions of cedis were injected into the sector to protect the deposits of investors. Do you agree that your government could have handled it in a better way without people losing their jobs?

From Ghana Broadcasting Corporation – Abdul Hayi Moomen’s question bothered on the Cedi depreciation and its impact on fuel prices:

2) This morning you have told us about the expansion of the economy under your watch. You have also told us also about the reduction of deficit from 9.3 to 4.9%. However, from the point of view of the ordinary Ghanaian,  the cost of fuel continues to go up. The cost of cement, for example, continues to go up. The impression people have is the fact that the dollar continues to go up while the cedi depreciates. You promised to deal with the fall of the cedi. Its 2019 and the cedi is performing abysmally at 5.6 against the dollar. Mr. President, what are you doing about the cedi depreciation?

Metro TV’s Adam Kwasi questioned the President on his government’s decision not to distribute the ambulances that have arrived in the country;

3) Mr. President during the electioneering period in 2016, one of the promises you made is that you want to provide Ambulances for the various constituencies. We are in 2019 and though some ambulances have been purchased, they are comfortably parked at the forecourt of the Parliament House although the ambulance to the people ratio is one to 550,00 with only 55 ambulances operating in the country. Mr. President, can you justify why the ambulances are still parked and when will the rest arrive in the country for onward distribution?

Serwa Amihere of GhOne TV asked about the size of Akufo-Addo’s government and his view on IMANI Ghana’s assessment of his government;

4) The size of your government has come under a lot of scrutiny with many insisting that the number of your ministers and appointees is just too high for a country of this size. Do you still stand by your earlier decision that you need these numbers to govern the country or will you heed to the calm and reduce them.

I am sure you know that policy think thank Imani Ghana has given your government a scorecard of 48% with regards to the fulfillment if your campaign promises. Per the assessment, it means that you have fulfilled less than half of your promises you made to the people of Ghana. How do you asses yourself with regards to the promises you made to us in 2016?

Abedi Anim of Net 2 TV asked a question on affordable homes;

5) Your party is built on property-owning democracy. This can be possible when you have large stock of affordable homes that makes sense to ordinary people, working-class people, so far we haven’t seen much of that in your government, is there any hope?

The next questioner was Kweku Dawuro from Kingdom FM – His question was on government’s corruption fight.

6) According to Transparency International’s local chapter, we lose around $3 billion to corruption annually which is far higher than what we are leveraging our bauxite for…I want to know the state of investigation and prosecution of some corruption cases or allegations which seem to be dying naturally – Key among them is the corruption allegation that some members of parliament who were alleged to have received some double salary under the erstwhile administration and other corruption allegations like robbing the assemblies, bus branding and other corruption allegation? We want to know the state of the cases and whether you are interested in prosecuting the cases?

Latif Iddrisu of Joy FM asked a question on the Afrobarometer report;

7) …If you look at your past three years and you juxtapose that against the Afrobarometer report that said you are not going to get a one-touch victory in the 2020 elections, does that projection by the Afrobarometer discourage you or you think it is a fair representation of what you have done over the period?

Veteran journalist, AR Gomda, of Daily Guide, put forward a question on Ghana-Nigeria relations:

8) The relationship between Ghana and Nigeria is at an all-time high but this all-time highness is threatened by our compatriots, GUTA, what are we doing about it although the President recently intervened and it has gone done but not completely?

Okatakyie Afrifa Mensah, Happy FM asked about the state of infrastructure, sanitation and choked gutters across the country.

9)  Mr. President, we claim to be a developing country striving to be like the developed ones like America and UK and Germany in terms of infrastructure but one thing that surprises me is that the roads we construct here in Ghana cannot stand even one downpour but their roads are deliberately constructed to last for more 15 than 20 years. We construct open-drain gutters that are mostly choked with filth but they construct underground tunnels. Now my question is; are we building a temporary Ghana or a permanent one?

To ensure balanced opportunities for both genders, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has announced that the next round of questions has been dedicated to female journalists present at the encounter.

Diaspora Network Television’s journalist brought up the issue of ROPAA and wanted to know the level of political will towards its implentation;

10) I will like to ask, the EC has boldly declared that if diasporans abroad do not vote in the 2020 election, it will not be from the EC; a statement that suggests the need for political will beyond the EC. Can you that political will to ensure the implementation ROPAA in 2020?

The next question was asked by a journalist from the Ghana News Agency on corruption fight and the position of President Akufo-Addo on proposals for the Asset Declaration Laws to be amended;

11) My question is, with regards to fighting corruption, the issue of asset declaration and disqualification plays a key role. I will like to know what effort you are making to get the bill before Parliament passed and then; and then what the Attorney-General recently said about initiating efforts to back that so that the law becomes more effective and progressive?

Atiewien Mbila Lawson, EIB Network, asked about the actions taken by the President in relation to the murder of 44 journalists in the Gambia.

12) It was revealed during the Gambian truth, reconciliation and reparation Committee that the soldiers were acting on the orders of then-President, Yaya Gyameh. Mr. President, at that time in 2005 when the incident happened, what did you do? And now that you are president of the Republic of Ghana and this new evidence has come to light, what are you going to do about it?

13) Nana Ama Osei Tutu, Kingdom FM – Mr. President the opposition NDC said they are ready to engage you or your government on the referendum. Are you ready for them?

14) From Oman FM, Nana Esi Boatenmaa asked: In 2016-2017, I asked about how your government is going to reduce duties as you promised as against your developmental projects. In 2019 we saw a giant step you took by cutting 50 % of benchmark value on import duties and 30% for vehicles. This obviously brought some Praise songs from importers community. But as to how this slash of 50% and 30% is trickling down to consumers is what I beg to differ Mr. President.  I would like to ask because a bag of rice that was bought around 180 cedis in 2017 is now selling at 250 cedis even at this time that there is a 50% cut on import duties. What are you doing about it?

Ama Krampa, EBN, posed a question with regards to the ‘Year of Return’ initiative.

15) Seeing that the red carpet has been rolled out for the African Diaspora for the Year of Return celebrations, is there a way we can ensure that regardless of who is president, Ghana continues to reap the benefits of this great initiative?

Veteran journalist, Kwasi Pratt Junior of The Insight Newspaper, posed two questions to the President. The first on Tullow Oil’s difficulties and the second on utterances of diplomatic missions in Ghana.

16) Your Excellency, first of all, I don’t know if you are aware of the difficulties of the oil company Tullow and if you are aware, how will that impact the overall revenue situation in the country?

b) Heads of diplomatic missions of countries that are usually considered your normal allies have been making very uncomplimentary remarks about your government. And given the fact that Ghanaian diplomats cannot do the same. How do you find this situation and is there anything that can be done about the obvious interference of foreign countries and their representatives in our domestic politics?

Asempa FM’s Osei Bonsu wanted a reaction from the President about the much-talked-about ‘family and friends’ government he is alleged to be running;

17) Mr. President you made two very profound declarations in the run-up to the 2016 elections. The first of those declarations was that you are not corrupt, you will never be corrupt and you will also not preside over a corrupt government. The second was that; and again in expressing your abhorrence to nepotism, you made the point that you will also not build a government of family and friends. Three years into your administration Mr. President, can you boldly tell the Ghanaian people that you are not presiding over a corrupt government and two, that you have not built a government of ‘family and friends’?

Bloomberg’s Ekow Moses wanted a response from the President on the economic outlook heading into an election year considering government’s failure to meet its revenue targets over the years.

18) Mr President, your government has missed your revenue targets in all the three budget cycles that you have had since being in government. This has also come on the back of increased oil output which has triggered the strong growth that we have seen. Now with Tullow telling us that they are going to do a considerable cut in crude output for next year, how do you one; continue with your flagship programmes? Now you also talk about 2020 being your year of roads; how do you combine that and still keep your deficit…?

Multimedia’s Patrick Osei Agyemang, known as Countryman Songo within sports circles, asked two questions – one on the Black Stars coaching job and Kwesi Appiah’s future and the second question was on next phase of Ghana football after Normalisation Committee’s work. He also got the President to wish Richard Commey well in his boxing bout this evening in UK.

19) Black Stars Coach, Akwasi Appiah was given a target to win the Nations Cup which he failed. His contract expires this month. What will be your advise to the FA and the sports ministry? Or what to do regards to whether he stays or not and do you want him to stay as Black Stars Coach?

b) Also, you played a key role in getting FIFA in the normalisation committee to normalise our football. They are done with their work and there is a new administration now. What do you think should be the direction of football in the country?

c) And also Richard Kormey is fighting in U.S. What will be your message to him?

 Dan Kwaku Yeboah of Peace FM questioned the government’s timelines to completing the various football parks across the country;

20) One thing that has hindered the development of our local football has been the absence of infrastructure. Your government, through the ministry of Youth and Sports, is putting up sports complexes across the country. How much of an effort are you putting into it to ensure that the project will be completed on schedule?

Francis Aban, Starr FM‘s morning show host posed a question on the President’s commitment to passing the Affirmative Action Bill into law.

21) In July 2017, you were appointed the AU gender champion. Drawing from the wisdom of the proverb ‘Charity begins at home, it’s been 2 years 5 months since that appointment. Mr. President,  what systemic and structural changes have you implemented to improve the lives of women and young girls in the country in the face of sexual assaults, rape, and gender-based violence and what has become of your promise to push for the passage of the affirmative action bill into law?

22) Frank Brefo, Vision One FM, asked the President, “Per the round down you gave on prosecutions and corruption, I just want to ask if you are satisfied or happy with the work of the Special Prosecutor?”

Daily Guide’s Fortune Alemi requested to know what the President’s assessment of the Special Prosecutor’s work is since the office was created.

23) The special prosecutor has been in office over one year and there have been reports suggesting that he dealing with only two cases and the Special Prosecutor himself has come out severally to say that your appointees are not cooperating with him. How are you going to get them to support his operations?

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