The Governments of Ghana and Malta have signed five memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to govern partnerships between the two countries.
The MoUs cover the areas of medicine, bilateral air services, avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to income taxes and tourism.
The remaining pact is on the establishment of a joint commission for bilateral co-operation between the two countries.
They were signed in the Maltese capital, Valletta, yesterday when the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, paid a day’s official visit to Malta, where he held bilateral talks with his Maltese counterpart, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
Speaking at a luncheon held in his honour, President Akufo-Addo indicated that those agreements “will serve as a strong launch pad for more dynamic and vibrant engagements in key sectors of our respective economies”.
He commended President Coleiro-Preca for the warm hospitality accorded him and his delegation and said her visit to Ghana in July 2017 was the first time a sitting President of Malta had paid a state visit to Ghana, with his visit to Malta also being the first time a President from Ghana had visited that country.
“Your visit strengthened the already good relations between our two countries and we appreciate the decision to locate Malta’s first Resident Mission in sub-Saharan Africa in Ghana,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo said as members of the Commonwealth and the United Nations, with governance structures that included respect for human rights, the rule of law and principles of democratic accountability, Malta and Ghana must continue to co-operate effectively at the international level to create a safer and more secure world.
“For us in Ghana, we will remember your intervention that resulted in the Department of Education of the University of Malta establishing the Annual Frederick Ofosu Memorial Lectures, under your distinguished patronage, in memory of Frederick Ofosu, the Ghanaian immigrant who took his own life here in Malta.
“We will remember you with affection and wish you well in your future endeavours,” President Akufo-Addo told the Maltese President.
The President recounted the Maltese President’s visit to Ghana in 2017, followed by the interest expressed by Maltese businesses in the Ghanaian economy, and said there was the need for him to also reciprocate the gesture and cement the relationship for the benefit of the two nations.
He lauded the Maltese custom, by which a visiting Head of State is allowed to interact with the opposition, a move he said he first experienced in England when he was the Foreign Minister, adding: “This should be made part of the Ghanaian state culture.”
Interacting with some Ghanaians living in Malta, President Akufo-Addo stressed his government’s resolve to be strictly disciplined in the management of public finances to sustain the gains chalked up in order not to turn to the Bretton Woods institutions for another bail out.
He stated that although it was not easy to live within one’s means, to be able to embark on big things, the country must expand its fortunes and refrain from spending money it had not earned.
The President recounted what he said was the indiscipline and economic mismanagement that ushered the country into the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in 2015 and said it was refreshing that the fund had come to the conclusion that after a successful review “of our economic performance, it has given us a certificate of good behaviour and good conduct”.
He stressed that the lessons learnt must not be lost on Ghanaians.
He said since assuming office, the government had been able to bring the 9.3 per cent fiscal deficit it inherited under control, saying it was now down to 5.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with a plan to keep it under five per cent in subsequent years.
President Akufo-Addo said fiscal discipline was a signal to investors that the basic elements of the economy were good and that had attracted the attention of global giants such as Volkswagen (VW), Nissan, Sino Truck and Suzuki which were looking to do business in Ghana.
He added that major oil companies were also turning their attention to Ghana, with technology giant, Google, building an artificial intelligence centre in the country, all because “they can sense that there is a disciplined and systematic management of the national economy”.
President Akufo-Addo told them that the worrying phenomenon of vigilantism would be dealt with decisively in the new Ghana that was being built because people should not be allowed to use force to determine the politics and decisions of the country.