Ghana's President John Dramani Mahama projected on Tuesday that 2014 would see a transformation of the country's economy for citizens to better their living conditions.
Speaking at a press conference to mark his first anniversary in office, Mahama acknowledged the difficulties the country experienced in the past year.
The West African country endured an energy crisis from August 2012 to around October 2013 mainly due to damage to the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), thereby disrupting supply of gas to fuel thermal plants which form an integral part of Ghana's energy mix.
The country undertook several projects including the Bui hydro Dam, built with assistance from the Chinese government, thermal plants, and the restoration of the WAGP gas supply to improve the energy situation.
The Ghana Statistical Service had projected the economy to grow by 7.4 percent last year after a 7.9 percent growth in 2012.
President Mahama said his government was committed to working hard to ensure the rapid transformation that Ghanaians desired in 2014.
"With reliable and uninterrupted power supply, jobs can be created by the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), hence we had to work hard to end the energy crisis that we faced between 2012 and 2013," the president explained.
He said the government was going to undertake several projects such as the Tema and Takoradi Harbor expansion projects, railway rehabilitation and development, some road projects and the much awaited Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in the heart of the capital.
He also said 100 new senior high schools in addition to a number of regional and district hospitals, as well as the Affordable Housing Scheme by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) would be undertaken to bring jobs to the youth.
These projects, the president said, were expected to generate some decent jobs for the unemployed in the country.
The president also promised that the country would undertake its Eastern and Western Corridor railway line rehabilitation projects from this year.
"Any country which seeks to develop cannot do so without a good railway system," he stressed.
He described as unacceptable the fact that 90 percent to 95 percent of cargo was transported by road, thereby bringing enormous pressure on the road infrastructure.
He said the concentration on railway for the transportation of goods would be pursued since that was cheaper than doing so by road.
Again, in 2013, Ghana had to deal with severe challenges to its economy with a rising fiscal deficit that were attributed to the rising wage bill encountered as a result of the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and subsidies on petroleum products and utility tariffs.
"You cannot continue to give freebies when you don't have the income to be able to support it," he said, explaining that government was struggling with expenditure which superseded income.
Last year, the government adjusted petroleum and utility tariffs while introducing some new tax measures to rake in more revenue to contain the country's expenditure as about 70 percent of tax revenue went into paying wages.
The country missed its 9.2 percent fiscal deficit target, recording 10.2 percent deficit after the 11.8 percent deficit in 2012. Again in the 2014 budget, the government has set an 8.5 percent deficit target.
The president said measures introduced mid-year 2013 and in the 2014 budget were expected to help achieve the deficit target and bring down inflation.