Home » Blog Page » John Evans Fifii Atta Mills
Famous Ghanaians

John Evans Fifii Atta Mills

John Evans Fifii Atta Mills (born 21 July 1944) is the third and current President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. He was inaugurated on 7 January 2009, having defeated the ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2008 election. He was Vice President from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings, and stood unsuccessfully in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections as the candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Early life, education and academic career

Mills is a Fanti from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region of Ghana but was born in Tarkwa, located in the Western Region of Ghana. He was educated at Achimota School, where he completed the Advanced Level Certificate in 1963, and the University of Ghana, Legon, where he received a bachelor’s degree and professional certificate in law in 1967.

In 1968, Mills studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and received a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. So began the pattern of the next twenty years of Mills’ life, which was largely spent with spells both in Ghana & internationally as an academic. Mills earned a Ph.D in Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London after completing his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development.

Career as a lecturer

Mills’ first formal teaching assignment was as a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon. He spent close to twenty five years teaching at Legon and other institutions of higher learning, and rose in position from lecturer to senior lecturer to associate professor, and served on numerous boards and committees. Additionally, he traveled worldwide as a visiting lecturer and professor at educational institutions such as the LSE, and presented research papers at symposiums and conferences In 1971, he was selected for the Fulbright Scholar Program at Stanford Law School in the United States Of America.

At age 27, he was awarded his PhD after successfully defending his doctoral thesis in the area of taxation and economic development. He returned to Ghana that year, becoming a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana. He became a visiting professor of Temple Law School (Philadelphia, USA), with two stints from 1978 to 1979, and 1986 to 1987, and was a visiting professor at Leiden University (Holland) from 1985 to 1986. During this period, he authored several publications relating to taxation during the 1970s & 1980s.

Outside of his academic pursuits, Professor Mills was the Acting Commissioner of Ghana‘s Internal Revenue Service from 1986 to 1993, and the substantive Commissioner from 1993 to 1996.By 1992, he had become an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ghana. Mills was also a Fulbright scholar at Stanford Law School.

Vice-President of Ghana

For the inaugural Presidential Elections in 1992, the National Convention Party (NCP) had formed an alliance with the National Democratic Congress (NDC). Former Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Chairman, and leader of Ghana, Flight-Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings chose the NCP leader, Kow Nkensen Arkaah, as his running-mate for Vice-President. Having been elected in the 1992 elections, Arkaah served between 1992–1996.

However, on 29 January 1996, the NCP broke with the NDC, merging with the People’s Convention Party (PCP) to form a rebirth of the Convention People’s Party (the formerly outlawed political party of Ghana‘s first President, Kwame Nkrumah). Thus, in a bitter split, Arkaah would stand as candidate for the reborn CPP in the 1996 Presidential Elections against Rawlings. Rawlings selected Mills for the vacated Vice-Presidency in his bid for re-election to a second term in Ghana‘s 1996 Presidential Election. Rawlings was re-elected to his second term in office, and Mills became Vice President of Ghana between 1996 to 2000.

Seeking for the highest office in Ghana

In December of 2002, John Atta Mills was elected by his party to be its flag bearer and lead them into the 2004 elections. In 2000, Mills became the NDC’s candidate for the 2000 Presidential elections after Rawlings had served his constitutionally mandated terms as president. At the time, and after essentially two decades of PNDC/NDC rule, the NDC’s war chest for the upcoming elections was certainly much stronger than that of the NPP. The result would clearly between the NDC’s popularity with the people, and Vice-President Mills’ track-record alongside President Rawlings, and the veteran political experience that the NPP candidate would bring to the campaign. The main rival for Vice-President Mills’ own bid for the Presidency was against a veteran politician, John Agyekum Kufuor, who was running as the candidate for the New Patriotic Party(NPP). Kufuor was a former Member Of Parliament during the rule of Prime Minister Kofi A. Busia’s Progress Party during his period of rule from 1969 to 1971, and served as the Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs. He had also been the Deputy Opposition Leader of the Popular Front Party (PFP) during the administration of Hilla Limann in the early 1980s. He had lost out to President Rawlings in the 1996 presidential elections, but gained 39.62% of the popular vote. Ghana‘s 2000 presidential elections went into two rounds. While in the first round, held on 7 December 2000, Mills gained 44.8% of the vote, Kufuor won the first round with 48.4%. This result forced the elections into a two-party run-off vote on 28 December 2000, where Kufuor crushed Vice-President Mills with a result of 56.9% of the vote. The NPP had won the election, and Kufuor was sworn in as President Of Ghana on 7 January 2001. In 2002, former Vice-President Mills was again selected as the candidate for the upcoming presidential elections in 2004. With President Kufuor’s professional statesmanship evident,[says who?] and Ghana beginning to show strong economic growth and attracting foreign investment, before votes were even cast, the result was largely being seen[by whom?] as a foregone conclusion. Subsequently, President Kufuor won the 2004 presidential elections by a margin of 52.45%, winning re-election in the first round of voting, and gaining even more parliamentary seats. On 21 December 2006, former Vice-President Mills became the NDC’s candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, winning his party’s ticket by an 81.4% result. However, while NDC seemed to only have one serious candidate, the ruling NPP had two main contenders, Nana Akufo-Addo and John Alan Kyeremanten. Nana Akufo-Addo was the son of former President Edward Akufo-Addo (1969-1971), and former member of ‘The Big Six’, who were the pioneers of independence from Britain. Nana Akufo-Addo was an Oxford-educated barrister, and had served in the Kufuor administration as Attorney-General and Minister Of Justice from 2001 to 2003, and Foreign Minister thereafter. John Alan Kyeremanten, more commonly referred to as Alan Cash, is a lawyer and businessman, as well as a former Ghana Ambassador to the United States Of America, and held several posts under the Kufuor administration, notably as the Minister Of Trade & Industry. Eventually, the NPP candidate became Nana Akufo-Addo, who won the most votes, but failed to get an outright result as preferred candidate. Nonetheless, as runner-up, Kyeremanten conceded defeat, and threw his support behind Nana Akufo-Addo as the NPP flagbearer. The campaign for the 2008 Ghana Presidential Elections was hard-fought. While the NPP pointed to their history of economic management, NDC pointed to issues such as corruption, and misappropriation of government funds. In the end, Ghanaians would be compelled to vote on how they compared the performance on the NDC’s performance in government between 1992–2000, with NPP’s performance in government between 2001–2009. Although the elections would be viewed[by whom?] as largely peaceful, clashes did occur between NDC and NPP supporters, who were both as passionate as ever. Early polls showed that Mills was the favourite, but in another poll taken just months before the first-round voting, Nana Akufo-Addo emerged as the favourite. Election campaigning was strong, particularly with advertising, which was clearly much heavier with the NPP candidate. The first round of voting occurred on 7 December 2008. In a very close result amongst all parties, Nana Akufo-Addo’s NPP finished with 49.13% of the vote, close to the outright margin required to win in the first round, while Mills’ NDC finished with 47.92%. The other parties garnered 2.37% of the votes. The result forced a second-round of voting between NPP and NDC on 28 December 2008. The result was a slim margin held by Mills, but due to problems with the distribution of ballots, the Tain constituency, located in the Brong-Ahafo Region, was forced to re-run its voting on 2 January 2009. The voting in the Tain constituency led to a landslide victory to the NDC. For several days, the Electoral Commission of Ghana did not call the result to the NDC, and the NPP filed a lawsuit, claiming that “the atmosphere in the rural district was not conducive to a free and fair election”. Eventually, the NPP bowed to the inevitable, and on the morning of 3 January 2009, the election result was finally called. Former Vice-President John Atta-Mills, who had failed to win in two previous campaigns, won the 2008 presidential election, becoming the third President of the 4th Republic Of Ghana.

READ ALSO:   Praye


Mills has produced several publications, including:

Taxation of Periodical or Deferred Payments arising from the Sale of Fixed Capital (1974)
Exemption of Dividends from Income taxation: A critical Appraisal (1977) In: Review of Ghana Law, 1997, 9: 1, p. 38–47
Report of the Tax Review Commission, Ghana, parts 1–3 (1977)
Ghana‘s Income Tax laws and the Investor. (An inter-faculty lecture published by the University of Ghana)
Ghana‘s new investment code : an appraisal (1993) In: University of Ghana Law Journal, 1993, vol. 18, p. 1–29

He has held examiner positions with finance-related institutions in Ghana, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Bankers, and Ghana Tax Review Commission.

Contribution in sports

He has contributed to the Ghana Hockey Association, National Sports Council of Ghana, and Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club. He enjoys hockey and swimming, and once played for the national hockey team (he is still a member of the Veterans Hockey Team).


On 21 December 2006, Mills was overwhelmingly elected by the NDC as its candidate for the 2008 presidential election with a majority of 81.4% (1,362 votes), far ahead of his opponents, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, and Eddie Annan. In 2008, he was elected president of Ghana, after a keenly contested three round election. Achievements by the Mills Administration 1. Sustain reduction in inflation Inflation rates have over the last 15 months reduced consistently, and the trend has continued into October 2010. From a high of 18.1% in December 2008, the rate of inflation as at October 2010 is 9.38%. This is indicative of the fact that the fiscal-monetary policy mix and corrective measures put in place to put the economy back on track are working.

2. Improved gross international reserves Gross International Reserves in January 2009 was US$2bn covering 1.8 months of imports. Currently, it is US$3.5bn covering 3 months of import cover.

3. Currency Stabilization The Ghana Cedi has stabilized over the months; an indication that the effects of both monetary and fiscal policies are yielding positive results. The stability of the cedi is the longest since the re-denomination exercise. The latest survey shows a more positive assessment of the general macroeconomic outlook and a rebound in both business and consumer confidence.

READ ALSO:   Eddy's Pizza

4. 2010 Macroeconomic Performance Provisional figures indicate that as at September 2010, the economy expanded by 5.9% against GDP target of 6.5%.

5. Single Spine Single Spine Salary implementation is vigorously underway. Please check this link http://news.myjoyonline.com/finance/201101/58921.asp for the latest information on the Single Spine Salary.

6. Revenue Agencies Integration The revenue agencies have been integrated, which translate into greater efficiency in revenue collection. Today, we have a Ghana Revenue Authority, which brings together the operations of VAT, CEPS and IRS.

7. Domestic Financing Domestic financing is on track. We have not borrowed more than is constitutionally required from the Central Bank. This constitutional requirement was flouted in the past.

8. Convergence Criteria For the first time in 9 years, Ghana has met three out of the four primary convergence criteria of the West Africa Monetary Union.

9. TOR Debt Despite the introduction of the TOR debt recovery levy by the previous government, TOR and its creditors almost collapsed due to the failure of the Kufour-led NPP administration to pay the debt. The funds that accrued under the levy were misapplied and misappropriated. The Mills-led NDC administration has however cleared over 50% of the debt with an amount of GHC4456 million.

10. Foreign Direct Investment Foreign Direct Investments in Ghana in 2009 amounted to $551.30 million, according to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). The amount represents 88.92% of investments recorded by the centre in that year. (A GNA report citing the quarterly update report of the GIPC says the Centre recorded a total of 257 investment projects with a total estimated value of $619.99 million).

GIVING MEANING TO THE NDC’S SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CREDENTIALS 11. Increase in Capitation Grant Government has increased the Capitation Grant by 50% from GHC3.00 to GH4.50 per child. GHC23.8 million was released as payment.

12. Free Uniforms President Mills’ commitment to ensure no child is deprived of basic education led to the innovative intervention of supplying free school uniforms to pupils in deprived communities. This has so far achieved 75% penetration in the target communities. This initiative uses local fabrics and local textile industries in order to support the local textile industry.

13. Free Exercise Books Government has also initiated the provision of free exercise books. So far more than 23 million pieces have been distributed. These supplies are not only helping to improve school enrolment and attendance, but the local production is contributing to revamping our local printing industry.

14. Expansion of School Feeding Programme The school feeding programme has been improved and expanded. 230 more schools will be enrolled in January 2011. GHC 13 million was released for the programme in 2009 and in 2010 GHC50 million.

15. Full Tuition Fees for Teachers Government paid the full tuition fees for all teachers pursuing further studies through distance learning.

16. Replacing Schools Under Trees A sustained program involving the Ministry of Education, the GETFUND, and resources allocated by the various District Assemblies has began to ensure the elimination of schools under trees and provide all schools in the country with decent classroom infrastructure. So far out of the 4,320 schools under trees, almost 1,000 schools under trees have been eliminated across the country

17. Revamping Collapsed Science Resource Centers Government has started a program to re-equip science resource centers in all districts of the country as part of the commitment in the NDC manifesto to enhance the teaching and learning of science. The centers, an innovation under the NDC administration of Jerry Rawlings, were neglected by the NPP and run down. A model state of the art Science & ICT Resource Centre has been constructed in Bolga in the Upper East Region to serve the three Northern Regions and students from neighboring countries. President Mills commissioned this in November 2010

18. Reduction in SHS Duration Government fulfilled a campaign and manifesto promise to reduce the duration of SHS (formerly SSS) from 4 to 3 years. That extension itself had no strong technical basis and the NPP government failed to put in place infrastructure development plans that will ensure that the needed classrooms, dormitories, libraries, dining and assembly halls etc, are in place for the implementation. Government will thus focus on quality infrastructure and logistics and motivation of teachers other than mere expansion in duration.

19. Savings on the Reduction of Appointments True to the promise of the NDC to reduce the number of Ministerial appointees and run a lean government, the number of Ministers has significantly been reduced from 87 of the erstwhile government to 73 in the Mills-led government. It is projected that approximately GHC8 million is saved annually by this bold decision to run a lean government. The hundreds of Special Assistants, Presidential Staffers and Spokespersons are also a thing of the past.

20. SADA The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) law has been passed and work has started to open up the three Northern regions, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions to enhance agriculture production and industrialization.

21. Producer Price of Cocoa The producer price of cocoa has been increased twice in 2010 and is currently at GHC200 per bag of GHC 3,200 per tonne of 16 bags, which is the highest in the sub-region and highest ever paid the cocoa farmers in Ghana’s entire history.

HEALTH • Eleven (11) lifts for Korle bu • Two (2) lifts for Efia Nkwanta • Commissioned Tamale Teaching Hospital & Wa Regional Hospital • Completed five polyclinics in the Northern Region • Successful containment of cerebrospinal spinal meningitis (CSM) and H1N1 flu • Delivered six buses to health training schools in BA, UER and UWR • Laid nine (9) major health bills in Cabinet including the NHIS Bill for one-time premium payment • Sod-cutting for the construction of additional 500 bed facility at the 37 Military Hospital to enhance status as National Emergency Health Centre • Installation of MRI at 37 Military Hospital for effective health delivery

READ ALSO:   Marcus Garvey

National Ambulance Service • Currently, the National Ambulance Service (NAS) has 24 fully functioning ambulance stations distributed across the country. Government is planning to scale up and expand service to cover all district capitals • Training of 400 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) is on going • The National Ambulance Service bill will soon be laid before parliament for consideration • The Work of the NAS has been recognized by Word Health Organization (WHO) and therefore, has been captured in its success story book entitled: “strengthening care for the injured: success stories and lessons learnt around the world”.

One-Time Premium Payment • The government has stated its commitment to slicing up universal health care for residents of the country through a policy that allows for One-Time Premium Payment for membership of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), thus allowing a reduction in the lifetime premium of members. • A nationwide survey to determine the willingness of the citizenry to pay the One-Time Premium was conducted in 2009 • Also, the roadmap towards the implementation of the One-Time Premium was developed awaiting passage of the new NHIS law to pave way for the Presidential launch • With or without the implementation of one time premium payment, the NHIS will need additional resources to sustain it

Completed Projects • DNA Laboratory at KBTH • Refurbishment of the Tower section of the Medical Block in KBTH • Expansion of the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Burns Centre at KBTH • A new Reproductive Health Centre at KBTH

The following abandoned projects in Accra-Tema Metropolis were reactivated in 2009 for completion • Usher Polyclinic Theatre completed • Maternity Block at Achimota Hospital • Upgrading of Maamobi, Kaneshie and Mamprobi Polyclinics • Contract has been awarded for the construction of maternity and children’s block at Tema General Hospital

Preparatory works including value for money audits, tendering, negotiations and required approvals have been completed for the implementation of the following proposed turnkey and bilateral-sponsored projects in 2010 • Construction has started for the major rehabilitation and upgrading of Tamale Teaching Hospital • Statutory approval being sought for re-equipment of 13 laundry facilities in selected nationwide hospitals • Funds secured for the expansion of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at KATH and KBTH • Construction of Blood Transfusion Centers • Projects launched for 8 numbers Ghana Hospital project with funding from Eurogetde-Invest S.A. for the development of 2 Regional Hospitals and staff housing at Wa and Kumasi • Designs ready for the Phase 2 of the Bolgatanga Regional Hospital redevelopment • Five (5) new Health Centers nationwide and 3 District Hospitals with Abu Dhabi OPEC funding respectively. • National Health Insurance • Registered 15,555,816 members as at 30th June 2010, representing 66.4% of the population • Started formal accreditations in 2009. As of now, 2,685 healthcare facilities have been formally accredited • The new Clinical Audit Division has been able to recover over 14 million GHS as a result of the over 5-month processing in the past. This is partly due to the new Claims Processing Centre that has been established • There is evidence that confidence in the scheme is growing. Utilization grew by about 75%, from 10 million to almost 17.5 million between 2008 and 2009 • The above puts financial pressure on the NHIS • As part of initiatives to improve maternal care, the National Health Insurance Council has revised the free maternal care policy to include coverage for the test to prove pregnancy, if confirmed • There is increased collaboration among stakeholders

Other activities and projects

Mills has been involved in various activities and projects such as:

Member of the Ghana Stock Exchange Council
Board of Trustees, Mines Trust
Management Committee Member of, Commonwealth Administration of Tax Experts, United Nations Ad Hoc Group of Experts in International Cooperation in Tax Matters, and United Nations Law and Population Project
A Study on Equipment Leasing in Ghana
Casebook preparation on Ghana‘s Income Tax
Review of Ghana‘s Double Tax Agreement with the UK
In 1988, John Evans Atta Mills became the acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service of Ghana and named Commissioner in September 1996.
In 1997, Prof. Mills received another important appointment when on January 7, 1997, he was sworn-in as the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.
In 2002, Prof. Mills was a visiting scholar at the Liu Centre for the Study of Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, Canada.
In December 2002, John Evans Atta Mills was elected by his party to be its flagbearer and led them into the 2004 elections.

Personal life

The President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills, with Pastor T.B. Joshua, at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, January 2009

He is married to Ernestina Naadu Mills, an educator and has a 19 year old son, Sam Kofi Atta Mills with Ruby Addo.

He is a good friend to Pastor T. B. Joshua of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria and regularly visits his church. He said following his inauguration that T.B. Joshua had prophesied to him there would be three elections, the results would be released in January, and he would emerge victorious.

About the author


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment