Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogues: 3 Actions to stabilise economy
The government is racing to complete three critical actions necessary for economic stability and turnaround by the end of the year to pave the way for continuous growth and job creation next year.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, who disclosed this in Accra yesterday, said the private sector was at the centre of a growth strategy the government approved a fortnight ago.
He said having completed the painful but necessary Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) this year, the government was also on course to conclude negotiations with independent power producers (IPPs) and also obtain approval from the IMF Executive Board to trigger the release of another tranche of $600 million by the close of the year.
Speaking at the maiden Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogues which attracted four other ministers of importance to the private sector, as well as a large representation from the public and private sectors, Mr Ofori-Atta further disclosed that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led Cabinet to approve a growth strategy on Thursday, October 19, this year that provided expanded opportunity for the private sector to increase investment to scale up economic activities.
That, he said, would complement the government’s continued micro and fiscal reforms in the economy.
Based on that the government would by the end of the year roll out a new and simpler business regulatory strategy to ensure that the country became more attractive to both domestic and foreign investors.
The strategy would be executed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The one-day event was held on the theme: “Business perspectives on boosting investment, growth and jobs now”.
The dialogues, which will be regularly held, is being supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, among others.
Its primary object was to help the government to understand the most pressing needs of businesses in the country and identify the constraints that must be addressed for the private sector to drive growth as the country’s macroeconomic situation stabilises.
It brought together regulators, chief executive officers of private enterprises, leaders of civil society organisations and executives of trade unions and associations.
Some of the key personalities included the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong; the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah; the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison; the Chairman of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Tony Oteng-Gyasi; the Commissioner-General of GRA, Rev. Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah; the Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo; the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rev. Ogbarmey Tetteh, the Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange, Abena Amoah; and the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant.
Also present were the Executive Secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), Simon Madjie; the President of the Ghana Union Traders Associations (GUTA), Joseph Obeng, and the Executive Secretary of African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye.
There were also representatives of the country’s development partners, including the private sector arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mr Ofori-Atta stated that there was a new beginning taking hold for the country which had the support of all stakeholders, including the private sector and development partners.
“In the 2024 budget, the government will roll out a strategy to complement macro and fiscal reforms we are implementing under the IMF programme,” he said.
To further position the private sector for rapid growth, he said the government would reposition the Development Bank Ghana (DBG) to become a critical partner to bring in the needed funds that were appropriate, long term and accessible for commercial banks for onward lending to industry.
That was to support the development of physical and digital infrastructure to ease the process of doing business and reduce transaction cost.
Mr Ofori-Atta applauded the resilience and tenacity of the private sector during the country’s economic difficulties, especially for last year, when the economic fundamentals deteriorated.
He said players in the private sector had stood with the government despite the economic challenges which affected the fortunes of businesses.
Taking his turn, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K. T. Hammond, pledged the total commitment to the formulation of the right policies and the right incentives, going forward.
“We have the energy, the spirit and certainly the ideas to realise our ambitions and so let’s leverage this platform together to position our private sector as the backbone of our development story,” he said.
For instance, Mr Hammond said, the Business Regulatory Reform Strategy sought to institutionalise policy reform measures to encourage the private sector to invest in industrial ventures, create more jobs and promote interventions in support of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Details of the reforms, he added, would be laid in Parliament this term and made available to the public soon.
The minister explained that the cornerstone of the nation’s progress would involve the diversification and transformation of the economy based on the development of strategic anchor industries, one entirely different from the Guggisberg economy.
“This will provide avenues for economic growth and social mobility and ultimately job creation for our teeming youthful population, in line with the President’s clarion call for a “Ghana Beyond Aid,” he said.
On job creation, which was an essential component of the dialogue, the Trade and Industry Minister said the government’s analytical assessment of where the country’s comparative advantages lay had led to a renewed policy focus on developing the textiles and garments, and pharmaceutical sectors.
“We expect to create about 30,000 jobs in garments manufacturing and exports by the end of 2024,” he said.
The Senior Country Manager of the IFC, Kyle Kelhofer, said the dialogue series had come at a better time because the private sector must play a key role in economic growth and job creation.
He said the IFC had invested nearly $2 billion in the economy over the past decade – in infrastructure, agribusiness, financial institutions, manufacturing, health care, and more.
“This is an addition to our active advisory and technical assistance programmes to both businesses and government in Ghana,” he added.
Mr Kelhofer said that was why it was important for businesses and government to collaborate, gather, listen and seek suggestions that could mutually make Ghana grow more prosperous and stable, sooner and better.
“It’s business people assembled here today who know better than any of us what the business constraints are on a daily basis and efforts to create jobs,” he said.