President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has rekindled hope in the private sector as he announced the resolve of his administration to allow players within the industry to lead the growth agenda of the country and create jobs for the teaming number of Ghanaians who have been without employment for many years.
Sounding confident and optimistic about his readiness to live his promise to the nation, he said: “We believe that the business of government is to govern. Ours is to set fair rules” and added that “we will provide vision and direction and shine the light down the path of our entrepreneurs and farmers. We are, indeed, counting on a vibrant private sector to drive growth and create jobs.”
In what is expected to revive the dampen hopes of the private sector in the last couple of years, the President also pledged the commitment of the government to ensure that the numerous taxes that have suffocated the private sector for years is reduced.
“We will reduce taxes to recover the momentum of our economy,” he said as he delivered his inaugural speech moments after he was sworn in as the fifth President of the Fourth Republic on January 7.
In the last couple of years, businesses in the country have had to struggle with numerous tax hikes imposed on them by the previous administration in its quest to raise more revenue to undertake development projects.
However, such a move rather aggravated the woes of players within the private sector, leading to massive loss of jobs by those already in employment. The situation also closed avenues for businesses to expand to provide jobs for the teaming number of the youth, including graduates from the various tertiary institutions.
Clad in a colourful and well-woven kente cloth and a shiny pair of native sandals (ahenema), President Akufo-Addo said his government was poised and ready to create wealth and “restore happiness to our nation”.
Science and tech
The resolve of the President to use science and technology as a key driver to accelerate the development of the country was made manifest when he said “we must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development.”
According to him, “We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy.”
President Akufo-Addo said the government would “stimulate the creative juices of innovators”.
“We will bring back to life the adventurer in you. It is time to imagine and to dream,” he said and added that it was time for the private sector to try that business idea again.
According to him, the doors of Ghana are open again. “The shutters are up again. There could not be a better opportunity to “Make in Ghana”, and to make it in Ghana.
In what was to send a clear message to the investor community to consider Ghana as a safe and lucrative destination to do business, President Akufo-Addo said “Ghana is open for business again”.
In spite of the pledges made, he did not allow the enormity of the task ahead of his administration to be lost on him.
He said “It will not be easy. We have no illusions whatsoever about the enormity of the task that we face, but I know that Ghanaians at home and abroad will rise to the occasion; they always do.”
Business on the go
At the Independence Square where the President and his Vice, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, were sworn into office, hawkers and street vendors had no choice but to capitalise on the attendance of the teeming masses of the people to make money.
From food items to party paraphernalia, the hawkers used every single available space they could find to set up their wares.
Among the paraphernalia on sale were slippers, handkerchiefs, bracelets, banners, T’shirts, mugs, door hangs and kente cloths.
On the precincts of the square, make-shift structures and tents were erected to sell assorted drinks while others use their spaces to sell food such as Fufu and light soup, jollof rice among other things.
Some of the vendors interviewed described the moment as an opportune time and expressed the hope that the huge sales made on the day would resonate in the coming days and weeks as they are assured of new life for businesses in the country by the new President.
The Presidents’ kente
It's genius. He's taken the best of the various peoples represented throughout Ghana, and created a beautiful patchwork tapestry reflecting the traditions and the unity of the Ghanaian people. Ashanti kente with proverbs such as "Akokobaatan" - compassion and discipline, and "Nkyimkyim" - life is not a straight path. Obama kente which is derived from the Ga and Ewe people's Adanudo cloth, and created with embossed and appliquéd patterns. Adinkra symbols, an Akan tradition, such as "Akoma" the heart and a symbol of love, "Bese Saka" a bunch of cola nuts and a symbol of abundance, and "Ohene Aniwa" which is a symbol of vigilance. There are also pieces of Gonja cloth from the North of Ghana.