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7 years on: Here are 7 legacies of the late Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills

Ghana was thrown into a state of despair and grief seven (7) years ago today when news broke that President John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills had died at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

Late Prof. Atta Mills

This sudden death made Professor Mills the first head of state of Ghana to die while in office.

Having been defeated in the 2000 and 2004 general elections by John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills won the 2008 general elections.

He narrowly beat Nana Akufo-Addo in the second round by 50.23% to 49.77%. This was after he had lost the first round by 49.13% to 47.92%.

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Prior to his election as the president of Ghana, Mills served as the Vice President, Chairman of the Economic Management Team and Chairman of the Police Council under Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings from 1996 to 2000.

As past of the 7th anniversary commemoration of his death, we compiled 7 legacies of the late Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

  1. Under Professor Mills, Ghana attained and sustained the lowest inflation rate in 42 years. He reduced the inflation rate to single digit of 8.1% after inheriting a rate of 18.1% in 2008.
  2. Professor Mills National Democratic Congress (NDC) government introduced a programme to provide free school uniforms to deprived communities while providing over 100,000 laptops or notebooks to school children to facilitate the learning process in a highly technological world. There was also an increase in capitation grants (government subsidies towards public education) under Mills.
  3. During his term of office, the Mills government provided a facelift to many teaching, regional and district hospitals across the country by upgrading old facilities and providing newer ones such as more high-tech equipment and more beds in hospitals, particularly at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. His government also built several polyclinics to increase access to healthcare.
  4. Owning to his promise to reduce the ministers of state, Prof. Mills significantly downed the number of ministers from 87 of the previous Kufuor NPP government to 73 (a reduction of 16%). It was projected that approximately $4 million was saved annually by this bold decision to run a small government. 
  5. Under Mills, the producer price of cocoa increased appreciably to $1600 per tonne of 16 bags, which was the highest in the sub-region and the highest that had ever been paid to cocoa farmers in Ghana's entire history. Cocoa production also hit a record-breaking 1 million metric tonnes.
  6. Two new specialized public universities were established during his tenure: the University of Health and Allied Sciences in the Volta Region and the University Of Energy And Natural Resources in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
  7. The Mills government also implemented the Single Spine Salary system which increased compensation levels of all public sector workers. In a bid to improve the efficiency in revenue collection, Mills established the Ghana Revenue Authority which integrated Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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