By Rex Mainoo Yeboah
Ghana's President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has reiterated the resolve of his government to build a business-friendly economy that has the potential to attract private sector investment and provide security for their investments on the continent.
Speaking at the 6th Africa Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Forum, comprising African CEOs, bankers and investors, in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, on Monday, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was endowed with great potentials, where security and the rule of law were upheldand investments secure.
He indicated that over the last fourteen months, his government had focused its energies on building a resilient economy and instituting measures to help move Ghana to a situation beyond aid.
He said the reduction in policy rate to 18 percent by the Bank of Ghana in its monetary policy review on Monday, signified that inflation was under control and that the economic fundamentals were right for banks and businesses to do business.
President Akufo-Addo said since he took office, a monetary policy had been put in place that had stabilized the currency and reduced significantly inflation and the cost of borrowing.
He said his government had implemented a policy of tax cuts which had brought relief to businesses and, at the same time, reduced substantially the country's fiscal deficit.
These interventions, he said, were lowering the cost of doing business and shifting the focus of the country's economy from an emphasis on taxation to an expansion of production.
President Akufo-Addo underscored the importance of the growth rate of the Ghanaian economy, which stood at 3.6%, in 2016, the lowest in two decades, but growing by 7.9% in 2017, and was expected to grow by 8.3% in 2018, which, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), would make it the fastest growing economy in the world, this year.
In order to create a Ghana, able to mobilize its own material and human resources for development–capable of generating prosperity for the mass of its people, and not dependent on handouts and charity– the president said, the rapid growth of the private sector was an essential ingredient in the realization of his government's vision of a Ghana beyond aid.
"There are many projects in roads, railways, water transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, renewable energy, the exploitation of our mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold, and ICT, among others, which, if properly structured, can attract private sector financing," he said.
President Akufo-Addo noted that key to attracting private sector investment was not only the creation of a conducive, business-friendly and peaceful environment, but also fashioning out a state machinery fit to provide strong, regulatory support for private enterprise to thrive. "That, for us, is the heart of the private-public-partnership that can fast-track our development," he added.
Furthermore, he said, the aim of his government was to create a state machinery that could manage efficiently its fiscal and monetary responsibilities, reform its tax administration to ensure that all private sector operators discharged their full tax obligations to enhance domestic resource mobilization, and thatwhich could promote the rule of law.
He called for systematic efforts to end the sad history of massive flights of capital out of the country and the continent– facilitated through unconscionable inter-company pricing and other practices– and lay the conditions for fairness in the administration of the country's and the continent's economy.
President Akufo-Addo told the Forum that Ghana wanted to participate in the global market place not on the basis of the exports of raw materials, but on the basis of production in order to bring greater dignity to the lives of millions of her citizens.
"We want to build a Ghana beyond aid," he emphasized.