Former President John Mahama (4th from right); Ernest De-Graft Egyir  (5th from right), Chief Executive Officer, Ghana CEO Summit, and some award winners at the 8th CEO Summit in Accra.  Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
Former President John Mahama (4th from right); Ernest De-Graft Egyir (5th from right), Chief Executive Officer, Ghana CEO Summit, and some award winners at the 8th CEO Summit in Accra. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
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Don’t leave, we shall resuscitate economy - John Mahama entreats investors

Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged captains of industry and the investor community to remain confident in the country’s business environment in the face of prevailing challenges.

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He expressed concern over the decision by some multinational companies such as GAME, Glovo, Nivea, BIC Pen, and Dark and Lovely to shut down operations with Unilever relocating its tea production to Nigeria due to what Mr Mahama described as the country’s bankrupt and collapsed economy.

“Amid all this, our public debt has also hit a staggering GH¢658.6 billion. But we cannot despair over the poor quality of governance that has served us in the last seven and a half years.

“I would like to appeal to you, captains of industry and the investor community, to tarry a bit more. Please don’t leave our country,” he said. The former President pledged to help change the fortunes of the country when re-elected in the December 2024 election and, therefore, entreated them not withdraw their investments despite the difficulties they were facing.

He was addressing the 8th CEO Summit and Excellence Awards in Accra last Monday on the theme: “Reigniting business and economic growth: Charting a path forward; economic diversification and artificial intelligence (AI) transformational. A private-public sector CEO dialogue and high impact-learning.”

More than 500 CEOs, heads of state, entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers from West Africa and around the world are participating in the event.

Stabilisation of currency

Mr Mahama said his priority when voted into office would be to stabilise the economy by restoring the value of the cedi. That, he said, would be achieved by launching an urgent economic recovery and fiscal consolidation plan after a national economic dialogue within the first 100 days upon assumption of office.

“We would do this by pruning huge government expenditure, preventing waste and corruption, and boosting revenues by expanding the tax net,” Mr Mahama added. He said his government would continue to digitalise the country’s revenue collection and payment systems and by 2028, phase out cash as a form of payment for all government services.

Mr Mahama recalled that under the current government, even cocoa, which at the end of his term in office brought in almost $2 billion in loan syndication, could barely manage $800 million last year.

Increase cocoa production

Mr Mahama further said that his government would work to restore cocoa production levels, improve forex flow into the economy, accelerate drilling and production of oil and gas in offshore and onshore concessions, and increase the availability of natural gas for electricity production and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic use.

He said the government would also streamline mineral production and exports to achieve the full benefit of this endowment. “While these traditional sectors are essential, we must expand and invest in new areas to offer opportunities for sustainable growth. These include agriculture, agri-business, tourism, light industries, manufacturing and the creative sector.

“Diversifying our economic base can lead to more job opportunities, poverty reduction and a more robust economy, especially within the context of the “Mahama 24-hour economy,” Mr Mahama said.

Collaboration

For her part, the Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Abena Osei-Asare, said there was the need to deepen collaboration between the government and the private sector to address the country’s challenges.

“It is not everything that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can do for us like fixing of the cedi; it can only suggest ideas for us but when it comes to implementation, I believe that the political will should be there which we have shown already,” she said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Telecel Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, called on operators in the telecommunications sector to use AI responsibly to drive growth in the sector.

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