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GHANA SOON BACK ON TRACK AFTER NDC MESS

Politics

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that getting the fundamentals of Ghana’s economy right is a perquisite for realising the vision of an industrialised country.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that getting the fundamentals of Ghana’s economy right is a perquisite for realising the vision of an industrialised country.

 

The New Patriotic Party government is bent on reviving the economy, the President says, despite huge debts and mismanagement bequeathed to his government by the ousted National Democratic Congress.

The erstwhile government of John Dramani Mahama bestowed more than GHC120 billion in public debt on Ghana as it relinquished power in the December 7, 2017 elections.

Fast industrial growth

The NDC government is believed to have borrowed over GHC110.5bn during its eight-year tenure as expenditure by ministries, departments and agencies under Mahama was far in excess of the fiscal budget.

However, speaking yesterday at the Fifth Financial Times Africa Summit, President Akufo-Addo declared that his government has registered some degree of success. It has “stabilised our currency despite the recent challenges of a stronger dollar”, he said, and “reduced significantly inflation from 15.4 per cent we inherited in 2016 to 9.9 per cent today, and, moderately, the cost of borrowing”.

Besides this, a number of tax cuts have brought relief to business, at the same time reducing the country’s fiscal deficit substantially from 9.3 per cent of GDP in 2016 to 5.9 per cent in 2017, with 4.5 per cent projected for this year.

“Indeed, the Ghanaian economy, whose growth rate stood at 3.6 per cent in 2016, the lowest in two decades, grew by 8.5 per cent in 2017, and is expected to grow, in 2018, by 8.3 per cent ‒ which, according to the International Monetary Fund, would make it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world this year,” he said.

The President continued, “The relative success of the implementation of our business-friendly policies, and the availability of affordable and reliable power, has ensured industry, whose growth rate stood at negative 0.5 per cent in 2016, grew by 17.7 per cent in 2017, the highest sectoral growth in the economy.”

Spur transformation

President Akufo-Addo also told guests that a number of deliberate interventions have been made to reduce the cost of doing business, diminish the stress associated with setting up a business, and formalise Ghana’s economy.

“The e-business registration system, the paperless port clearance system, the digital property addressing system, the Mobile Interoperability Platform and the issuance of the National Identification Card will all help quicken the pace of change to bring us into the technology-driven era and make our businesses competitive, so that we can attract the requisite investment, foreign and domestic, to spur on our country’s economic transformation,” he said.

VW, Sinotruk, Google

The modest successes realised in reviving the Ghanaian economy and creating a business-friendly environment, President Akufo-Addo told the FT audience, have received a significant boost with the announcement by two global car giants that they will soon establish assembly plants in Ghana.

In the medium term, he said, both companies ‒ Volkswagen of Germany and Sinotruk of China ‒ also intend to produce their vehicles in the country.

“Tech giant Google has also decided to base its African artificial intelligence research centre in Ghana, which will make it the first in Africa. US global energy giant ExxonMobil, and the big Norwegian oil and gas company Aker Energy, have both signed agreements with the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to undertake deep-water oil and gas exploration and production,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that the rapid enhancement of foreign direct investment in the economy was very welcome, “with its concomitant transfer of technology, as we try to realise our vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid ‒ that is, building in Ghana a strong, viable economy focused on trade and investment co-operation, and not on the reception of aid”.