General News of Thursday, 13 December 2018
President Akufo-Addo says Ghana is well poised for significant transformation and development, and has welcomed the inclusion and participation of the Japanese investment in that regard.
According to President Akufo-Addo, his administration, over the last 23 months, has strengthened the Ghanaian macro-economy and has brought back discipline into the management of public finances even though the country was under the aegis of an IMF programme.
“I believe the decisions we took initially have paid off. We saw, for the first year, a turnaround in the growth of the economy. A 3.6% growth (in 2016) ended up with an 8.5% growth (in 2017). We are projecting that, this year, we will be somewhere around 7.9% rate of growth, and the same projection is being made for next year as well”, the President said.
He continued, “We brought the deficit down initially to 5.9% (in 2017), it will be 4.9% this year, and with the projection that, next year, it will be 4.5%. We want to get into a situation where, when we finish with the IMF programme this year, we will organize our public finances in such a way that we will never have to go back under an IMF programme.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, 12th December, 2018, when he addressed a joint Ghana Investment Promotion Centre/Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Summit, in Tokyo.
With Parliament set to pass a fiscal rule, which will ensure that no government exceeds a deficit of 5% every year”, the President explained that all of these are being done to “attract investment into our country, and this is the reason why we are very determined to renew the relations that we have with Japan.”
He told the gathering, made up of chief executive officers of some of the most important organisations in Japan, that the Japanese model of development is the most appropriate model of development for Ghana, as it requires significant investment in education, the development of the country’s human resources and infrastructure, and the growth of the industrial and agricultural sectors.
Agriculture, through the programme for ‘Planting for Food and Jobs”, President Akufo-Addo said is beginning to witness a significant revival, evident in the 8.4% growth rate recorded in the sector in 2017.
“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 also as a link for the industrialization of our country is extremely important,” he added.
Reiterating the importance of having a very clear programme for industrial development in Ghana, the President stated that raw material producing and exporting countries cannot fulfill the purposes of the 21st century.
“It requires therefore 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. So those are economic policies that we are putting in place and opening up the country for more and more investments,” he added.
One of the best performing democracies
To the Japanese companies present, President Akufo-Addo urged them to bear in mind that Ghana is one of the most performing democracies on the African continent.
“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 has not shaken the foundations of the Ghanaian state, the last is what brought me to office in 2016; the multiparty democratic system has become well entrenched in our country, and our people are comfortable with operating a system of rule of law and the principles of democratic accountability,” he added.
This, the President noted, “Means that Japanese businesses in Ghana can have the security of operating in a climate of the rule of law, the rule of law worded on a system of separation of powers.”
He indicated further that the judiciary in Ghana has a good reputation, is independent, is a good arbiter for business people, adding that there is no bias within the judicial system of Ghana against foreign businesses.