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Politics of Monday, 22 October 2012

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Akufo-Addo’s Speech To AGI On The 22nd Of October, 2012

The President of AGI, members of Council, members of AGI, members of the media, invited guests, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, fellow Ghanaians. In about 45 days’ time on the 7th of December, we shall be going to the polls to elect a President to manage the affairs of the nation for the next four years.

The NPP has deeply embedded in its philosophy and ideology an unshakeable belief in open markets as the most effective means of developing and allocating resources in any given economy. This is the party that supports business and many of our policies have been towards energizing and liberating the Ghanaian entrepreneur. We want the Ghanaian entrepreneur to be in the forefront of the critical national assignment of undertaking the structural transformation of our economy. The raw material exporting economy, which I have dubbed the ‘Guggisberg economy’, has run its course.

You know better than most the business confidence that existed during the Kufuor administration resulting in an expansion of the economy by four times, without oil and at a time when commodity prices were under downward pressure. Additionally, the setting up of a Ministry for Private Sector facilitated and resulted in reforms that improved the business environment and Ghana was voted the best reformer by the World Economic Forum’s Doing Business ratings. Ghana was also voted the best place to do business in West Africa.

We very much still believe that for our economy to grow, we need to support and energise the private sector to grow exponentially, create jobs and be the main instrument for economic growth. I pledge that should I, God willing, be voted as president of Ghana come December 2012, a new era of ascendency of Ghanaian business will also come into play. Government’s role in this regard will to be to ensure that we have a globally competitive business environment and private sector.

In our manifesto, we have outlined an audacious and forward thinking blueprint that we believe will change the economic landscape and fortunes of our country. We have clearly spelt out a transformation agenda and programme, which not only will change things, but also essentially result in a globally competitive business environment with the private sector at the core. We strongly believe government and private sector should lean in the same direction to create jobs and wealth.

Any country that seeks to develop must have aggressive plans that change things in a dynamic and forward manner. I therefore propose a new economic order to transform our economy along two paradigms, firstly to add value to our natural resources and manufacture what we need and consume, and, then secondly, to become an export oriented economy, firstly targeting the West Africa region and then venturing out into the wider global economy. We are blessed with all the resources we need to achieve our goal, it only takes true committed leadership, and the support of our hard working entrepreneurs and business people.

The broad components of the transformation agenda are:

• increasing agricultural production and adding value to our products through agro processing • developing and adding value to our natural resources, including oil and gas, salt, gold, bauxite, iron ore, manganese and other natural resources • supporting and promoting industry, especially small and medium scale entrepreneurs and businesses to be competitive in import substitution and exports through a comprehensive review and reform of our trade policy • promoting high-value services, including penetration of ICT services, financial services, education, health and tourism, all for which Ghana is competitive • supporting and making Ghana the pharmaceutical manufacturing centre for the West Africa region and beyond.

To achieve this transformation means that we need to tackle the barriers that mitigate our becoming a true modern economy. These are:

? Power and Energy • Interminable Problems of Power and Energy, to which we have to find solutions to ensure reliable supply of power and energy for our industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Infrastructure • We shall implement an aggressive infrastructure programme focused on expanding the key areas of economic activity.

Education • We are committed to the education of all Ghana’s children to the Secondary school level with greater emphasis on Science and mathematics and technical subjects better to meet the needs of industry, and, thereby, create a globally competitive workforce.

Governance and business environment • We will reduce the overall cost of doing business and make Ghana attractive as an investment opportunity by streamlining bureaucracy, and achieving macroeconomic stability • Completing the National Identification System

The NPP has always been at the forefront of empowering our businesses to lead the economy. We strongly believe that the time has come to cement further this notion and make private sector the largest actor in the economy. It is a matter of political will reinforced by committed and honest leadership. That is why I find it possible to sign, on behalf of the NPP, the document setting out the commitment to private sector facilitation and development to the AGI.

This is an exciting time for Ghana and yes we can build a nation we all desire and achieve our dreams of a peaceful society of opportunities and prosperity. We need your support and I ask for your endorsement to move our country forward. It is a partnership for mutual benefit.

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