President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated the government’s commitment to create the right atmosphere for businesses to thrive.
According to him, the government does not see itself as a competitor to the private sector, but a partner in the development of the country.
“The role of government, in our view, is to be a facilitator for the development of the private sector, and that has been the focus of our government,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said this yesterday at a panel discussion at the ongoing Africa Investment Forum organised by the African Development Bank in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The discussion was on the theme “Championing Investments: Presidential Investment Chats.”
Explaining the reasons for the modest successes chalked by government, which has seen, for instance, economic growth rate increase from 3.6 per cent in 2016 to 8.5 per cent in 2017, the President indicated that his government had been keen on providing incentives for the private sector to thrive.
Some of these policies, he said, included a raft of tax cuts, the abolishing of nuisance taxes, reduction in utility tariffs, which, for example, had seen electricity tariffs for businesses reduced by as much as 30 per cent and water tariffs also reduced by 10 per cent.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government had established a clear perception about the rule of law in Ghana, stressing that “the rule of law is working not just for Ghanaians, but also for foreigners who decide to invest in our economy.”
A third area focus of his government, he said, had been the promotion of policies that were stimulating industrial and agricultural activity.
Government is developing strategic industries out of Ghana’s abundant natural resources of bauxite and iron ore and has established an Integrated Bauxite/Aluminium Development Authority to assemble the relevant financial resources for the full exploitation and development of Ghana’s large bauxite deposits.
With agriculture growing by less than three per cent in 2016, President Akufo-Addo stated that his government introduced the programme “Planting for Food and Jobs” to address the problem.
Through this programme, the President explained that the government, in the first year of its implementation, supported some 200,000 small holder farmers with inputs such as fertilizers, access to extension officers, improved seedlings and a marketing platform.
“This year, the programme has moved from 200,000 to 500,000 and the impact it has made in terms of yields of agriculture, i.e. the productivity of our farmers, as well as on its output is quite dramatic. We are seeing a much greater output of food stuffs in our markets across the country than we saw three or four years ago,” he added.
He continued: “That is the connection that we are trying to make to see how we can bring whatever authority that government has to support these initiatives with appropriate policy. Our goal is that, within four years, a million farmers will be in this programme.”
Again, with government keen on improving the capacity of the state to manage the country and its economy, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the phenomenon whereby only some six per cent of the population pay taxes did not inure to the benefit of the Ghanaian people.
As a result, the President noted that government was initiating policies to broaden the tax net, explaining that “we believe we are capable of financing our own development out of our own resources.”
“However, if only 6 per cent of our people are within the tax net, that already poses a major structural problem,” President Akufo-Addo noted.
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