President Akufo-Addo reaffirms commitment to fiscal discipline Featured

By Nana Yaw Dwamena November 07, 2019 928 57 comments

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday reaffirmed his full commitment to ensuring that fiscal rectitude becomes an essential feature of the country’s DNA in the management of its public finances and national economy.

He added that his government will continue to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring that the current stability of the macro-economy is safeguarded.

“All our macroeconomic indices are pointing in the right direction, and it comes as no surprise, therefore, that, today, Ghana is the leading recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa,” the President stated.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the CEOs Executive Forum, he explained that his government’s policy approach to supporting the growth of the private sector has been anchored on four key priorities.

These are stabilizing the macro-economy, executing a financial sector reform programme, introducing pro-business policy and programme interventions, and implementing a comprehensive business regulatory reform programme.

Business reforms

He said the 3-year Business Regulatory Reform Programme will stimulate the growth and development of the private sector, and improve the business atmosphere in the country.

President Akufo-Addo explained that the reform programme is in seven components, namely targeted reform initiatives, one-stop registry of all business regulations, a voice for all in public consultations, review of business regulations, regulatory impact assessment, targeted regulatory relief and permanent public private dialogue mechanism.

According him, these reforms will complement and reinforce the strong measures that have been implemented for financial and economic stabilization, as well as position Ghana, strategically, to take maximum advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“If we are to accomplish our vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, that is a Ghana no longer dependent on the benevolence or charity of foreign taxpayers and donors for the management of her public finances, we must change course, hence the establishment of the Presidential Fiscal Responsibility Advisory Council. Ghana is now the only other country in sub-Saharan Africa to establish a Fiscal Council, after the Republic of Mauritius,” he added.

Banking sector reforms

The President stated that his government, upon assumption of office in January 2017, introduced extensive reforms to clean up the banking sector to enhance its liquidity.

According to the Bank of Ghana, the banking sector, at the half-way stage of 2019, has recorded a profit after tax of GH¢1.67 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 36.3 per cent, compared with 21.7 per cent in the same period last year.

He told the CEOs that he has asked the governor of the central bank to interrogate the issue of high interest rates in the country, and how the problem can be addressed to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector.

The President said his government recognises that macro-economic stability is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for economic transformation.

Transforming industries

As a result, he said, the government has embarked on a comprehensive programme for industrial transformation, based on ten pillars. These include the ‘One District One Factory’ initiative, the stimulus package for distressed companies, establishment of industrial parks and special economic zones, promotion of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), among others.

President Akufo-Addo noted that “the interventions and financial and economic stability as well as the projects and programmes are just the building blocks,” adding that actual building will have to be constructed by the private sector “because we subscribe to the primacy of the private sector.”

According to him, in order for the private sectors, both domestic and foreign, to invest in the Ghanaian economy, the business environment must be improved.

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