President Akufo-Addo yesterday reiterated his determination to turn the fortunes of the Ghana he inherited from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government around.
“I am determined that we change the economic conditions in our country for the better, to ensure that young people see it as a place of opportunities, instead of the place from which they flee at the peril of their lives,” he said when he delivered the keynote address at the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce Summit in London.
For now, he said, “We need to do all within our power to create an entrepreneurial climate, to enable our young people come up with creative ideas that can be developed into businesses.
“For us in Ghana, we know where we want Ghana to be, and we are aware we are not where we want to be or ought to be. We also know of the big dreams of our forefathers to found a self-reliant and prosperous nation that would take her rightful place within the comity of nations. Our generation is not seeking handouts from anybody,” President Akufo-Addo boldly stressed.
He walked his audience through what his government has been doing for the country since taking over the reins of government a little over a year ago.
Over the past 15 months in office, he related, “We have set about putting in place the measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the business environment.
“We have begun to act on the fundamentals of our economy, which, in recent years, had been in considerable disarray. Our actions have resulted in the growing stability of the macro-economy and the cedi, reduction in inflation, and an abolition of nuisance taxes which aim is to shift the focus of the economy from taxation to production.”
All these measures, according to him, “are being undertaken to stimulate enterprise activity and growth,” recognizing the fact that “If in the circumstances of the 21st century, we continue to maintain the ‘Guggisberg economy,’ there will be no future prosperity for the Ghanaian people, in the short, medium or long term.”
As a result of effective economic policies, President Akufo-Addo indicated, “We have been able, with some degree of success, to turn things around.”
Apart from that, he said, “We have ensured that the fiscal deficit, which stood at 9.5% at the end of 2016, has been reduced to 5.6% at the end of 2017, and is projected to go down to 4.5% in 2018; inflation has declined from 15.6% at the end of 2016 to 10.4% at the end of March this year and is expected to decline even further to an end-of-year single digit target of 8.9%, and our economy has grown from 3.6% in 2016, to 8.5% in 2017 – the first year of my government – and, this year, is estimated to grow at 8.3%, which would make it the fastest growing economy in the world.”
President Akufo-Addo maintained thatt as a result of appropriate policies and the normalisation of the power situation in Ghana, “these interventions have also led to the revival of Ghanaian industry, from a growth rate of negative 0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017, whiles interest rates are declining, and we are now witnessing a more stable cedi – our national currency – with our macro-economy growing stronger.”
At the same time, Nana Akufo-Addo said, “Government has implemented specific measures which are leading our country and its economy into the new digital age.”
These, he said, “include the introduction of an e-business registration system, a paperless port clearance system, a digital addressing system, a mobile interoperability system and a national identification card system – all of which are designed to formalise the Ghanaian economy, reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate interaction between businesses and their clients, particularly in a technology-driven era, where connectivity through digital services is an important element in achieving competitiveness.”
This process of industrial and economic transformation, he noted, was going along with ensuring that the most basic elements of social justice are met.
He was therefore, of the strong conviction that “If we are to transform the lives of our people, and if we are to transform our economy from a raw material producing and exporting one to a value-adding one, we need a world class labour force.”
That, the president said, “is why we have decided to make quality basic education – i.e. education from kindergarten through to secondary school – accessible to all of Ghana’s children, through our policy of Free Senior High School education in our public schools. We have a sacred duty to our children, and to the generations beyond, to ensure that, irrespective of their circumstances of birth, their right to education is preserved, and that lack of money will no longer be a denial of education.”
Also, he indicated, “We are also ensuring accessible healthcare to all our citizens, through an efficient and, ultimately, financially self-sustaining National Health Insurance Scheme, which, for a minimum subscription, entitles the ordinary person to a wide range of health services.”
According President Akufo-Addo, “A key challenge of our economy, like many other economies in Africa, is its infrastructural deficit.”
He however, emphasised, “We are embarking on an aggressive public private partnership programme to attract investment in the development of both our road and railway infrastructure.
“We are hopeful that with solid private sector participation, we can develop a modern railway network with strong production centre linkages and with the potential to connect us to our neighbours to the north, i.e. Burkina Faso, to the west, i.e. Cote d’Ivoire and to the east, i.e. Togo. We believe that this is an area where British technology and expertise would be very welcome.”
President Akufo-Addo therefore, asked the business community in UK to take advantage of the growing business-friendly climate in Ghana to invest here saying, “Our flagship policies of ‘One District, One Factory’, ‘One Village, One Dam’ and the programme for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ map out areas of opportunity, which I commend to you, as I do areas in the development of renewable energy and ICT growth.”
Apart from that, he said, “There are several projects in roads, water transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, renewable energy, the exploitation of our mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold, the ICT sector, amongst others, which are being structured to attract private sector financing.”
Source: Daily Guide