That was when he attended the 8th Annual Salon Academy of the National Association of Beauticians and Hairdressers (NABH-Ghana) as the special guest of honour.
It was under the theme, ‘creating the best learning environment in all training centres.’
But even before the president could get to the venue of the event, his vehicle had virtually been swallowed by an excited crowd who cheered him right from the time he alighted from his vehicle to the time he entered the main hall.
They touted him for his sterling achievements within the one year of his administration – chief among which is the solution to the erratic power supply, popularly known in the local parlance as dumsor.
The beauticians and hairdressers also showered praises on the president and his government for the implementation of the ‘Free Senior School,’ ‘One District, One Factory’ and a host of other programmes that have been rolled out within this short period in government.
Security details of President Akufo-Addo did not have it easy controlling the crowd, most of who wanted to shake hands with him.
An obviously overwhelmed President Akufo-Addo, in turn, waved at the crowd as a sign of gratitude for the honour done him.
In his speech, he announced that as part of government’s efforts to reduce the burden on Ghanaians, non-residential users of electricity would enjoy an average of 14 percent tariff reduction, with effect from January this year.
For barbers, it has been reduced by 18 percent; for hairdressers and beauticians, 15.7 percent and for tailors, 9.8 percent.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “An average bill last year was GH¢562 a month. With this reduction from January, it is coming down to GH¢473 a month, which means GH¢88 has been taken from the electricity tariff that you pay. We want to encourage private business, and make business stand on its feet.”
He expressed his appreciation to members of the association for supporting his candidature in the 2016 elections, recalling the pledge of implementing a Free SHS when elected president.
“By the grace of God, Free SHS, which some said was not possible or would be possible only after 20 years, is now a reality in our country. Free SHS has come to stay. It is going to be a central feature of the education architecture of our country. We are not going to go back on it. By 2020, all students in form 1, form 2 and form 3, would enjoy the free SHS policy,” he said.
This statement was met with a rapturous approval by the hundreds of beauticians and hairdressers at the packed Mensah-Sarbah Hall.
In response to the request by the president of the association, Joyce Lamptey, for tax exemptions for start-up businesses, President Akufo-Addo stated that in the 2018 budget, there is a provision which ensures that young entrepreneurs up to the age of 35 will enjoy a tax holiday for the first five years of operation, before being taxed in the subsequent years.
Touching on skills training, he revealed that until now, all the institutions responsible for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the country were under so many organisations.
“My government has made the decision to centralise all of them under the Ministry Of Education, so we can scale up TVET training, and make it better and more robust for you. The demand for an industrial park in every region is part of the NPP manifesto, and you know that all the pledges I have made to the Ghanaian people, I am going to fulfill each and every one of them,” he assured.
In conclusion, President Akufo-Addo appealed for the continued support of the association, stressing, “This government is your government; it is the government of the private sector. Whatever we can do to strengthen the private sector, we will do it. We have come to do a job to raise Ghana up, and with your support, we will raise Ghana up. The Black Star is going to shine and shine and shine again.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent