Ghana poised for significant transformation — President Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has welcomed the inclusion and participation of Japanese investment in Ghana to help boost Ghana’s significant transformational and developmental agenda.
He said the government had, over the last 23 months, strengthened the Ghanaian macroeconomy and also brought back discipline in the management of public finances, even though it was under the aegis of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended credit facility.
President Akufo-Addo made this known when he addressed a joint Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)/Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Summit in Tokyo yesterday.
“I believe the decisions we took initially have paid off. We saw, for the first year, a turnaround in the growth of the economy — 3.6 per cent growth in 2016 rose to 8.5 per cent in 2017.
“We are projecting that this year we will be somewhere around 7.9 per cent growth and the same projection is being made for next year as well,” he explained.
Under his leadership, President Akufo-Addo said, the government had brought the deficit down to 5.9 per cent in 2017 and had projected to reduce it further to 4.9 per cent in 2018 and 4.5 per cent in 2019.
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“We want to get into a situation where, when we finish with the IMF programme this year, we will organise our public finances in such a way that we will never have to go back under an IMF programme,” he added.
With Parliament set to pass a fiscal rule, which would ensure that no government exceeded a deficit of five per cent every year, President Akufo-Addo explained that all of those measures were implemented to “attract investment into our country, and this is the reason we are very determined to renew the relations that we have with Japan”.
He said the Japanese model of development was the most appropriate form of model for Ghana’s development, as it required significant investment in education, the development of the country’s human resource and infrastructure and industrial and agricultural growth.
Agricultural and industrial development
On agriculture, President Akufo-Addo said the government’s flagship programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, was beginning to witness a significant revival of the sector and that was evident by the fact that the agricultural sector recorded an 8.4 per cent growth last year.
“We are witnessing, for the first time, significant production of the staples in the country. Ghana has begun, again, to be an exporter of foodstuffs, which was inconceivable and unheard of two or three years ago. Agriculture, as a link for the industrialisation of our country, is extremely important,” he said.
Sharing his thoughts on the importance of having a very clear programme for industrial development in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said raw material-producing and exporting countries could not fit the purposes of the 21st century.
That, he said, required that “we take the measures that will reform and restructure the Ghanaian economy in such a way as to make industrial activity and the making of things a central part of our economy”.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was one of the best performing democracies in Africa and that meant that “Japanese businesses in Ghana could have the security of operating in a climate of the rule of law.
“In the last 25 years, we have had strong stability in the state; we have had three changes of governments through the ballot box which had not shaken the foundations of the Ghanaian state,” he said.
A multi-party democratic system, he said, had become well-entrenched in Ghana to the extent that the people were comfortable with operating a system of rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability.
President Akufo-Addo also espoused the good reputation and the independence of the Judiciary and said that arm of government was a good arbiter for all businesses.