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Opinions of Friday, 15 November 2019

Columnist: Marricke Kofi Gane

10 things I would have done differently in the 2020 budget

1) Rather than Institute training schemes for Entrepreneurs exclusively outside the educational Cycle - We should Also consider incorporating it into the educational cycle, spread over the stages. The advantages - Entrepreneur mindsets get internalized early and makes it easier to appreciate Entrepreneurship alongside technical subject focus

2) On AfCFTA, we shouldn't only be dialoguing with Private sector to find the way forward. In my view, we already have embassies in 80% of these AfCFTA countries - We should by now have paid for and produced a very detailed database of all potential export items from Ghana, and which AfCFTA countries have the biggest potential corresponding markets for them, their national trade entry protocols, National fairs and contacts, best country specific distributing channels - and these and other AfCFTA country data should be reaching related companies in Ghana by now. We should be forming a curriculum around this by now also.

3) To grow FDI, you want to resource GIPC and set up an inter-ministerial committee for a policy drive. GIPC is a trade marketer and facilitator - if we dont already have what FDIs want, GIPC cannot market it. FDI looks out for Quality of Labour (Technical & Competency). Sadly, we are not investing in people enough. We need apprentiship schemes. FDIs also demand certainty of micro and macro financial planning for themselves and in this area - they know our corruption is permeating at micro and macro levels. We should focus on ruthlessly rooting it out. The 1 week 1 scandal doesn't engender confidence, neither does spending 16Billion on cleanups and nobody is hanged.

4) You say "We aim to use Digitization to transform our Development path, in line with global realities of the 4th Industrial Revolution" -to me that's pure English and no concrete policy direction. The current Government's development path has been Production-led and the well used "4th industrial revolution" is also driven by an emphasis on efficiency minimal labour use. 4 industries largely drive Ghana's economy - Oil, Agric, Industry and Services - which of these is Digitization being directed at specifically? I would have loved to see us have a cogent plan to direct our Digitization drive at say Agriculture. Why? It will increase efficiency, reduce labour efforts and improve yields..If you asked me, digitization is a necessity. What we really need for Leapfrogging is - INNOVATON.

5) Government agenda to set up a National Development Bank to support Domestic Enterprises' access to capital. Although. A laudable INTENTION. But if this is largely just for Access to Capital, why can't the likes of already existing ADB, NIB and the now CBG be upgraded to handle a special Govt Guaranteed Capital scheme and save us an entirely new set of operational cost setting up a new Bank.

6) MASLOC, which over the years has been characterised by spending inefficiencies and which is currently giving out enterprise loans and making recoveries of only 50% and about 23% under past Governments while still spending taxpayers money on organizational Administration in my view should be shut down. Special concession schemes for small enterprises could be channelled through private sector with the advantage that these lendings will be done with some commercial precision.

7) With the obviously 800K SHS students on the brink of graduating from the 2nd cycle of our Educational system - its worrying to see that no major spending or policy coverage has been directed at the NEXT-EFFECT - pressure on our Tertiary Education system. We should have been planning for that since Yesterday.

8) There are too many Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Small Business schemes (some legacy, some new) operating as Silos, it's hard to see any convergence in the Outcomes expected from running them, neither have we had any policy reviews to determine which ones have been successful and which ones not. We should be considering a consolidation into one Nationally Efficient Enterprise Scheme run by Top-brass venture-like brains, to cover all things Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Funding.

9) It is a complete waste of human and financial resources, that we are having to separately carry out a National Identification Project, Digital Property Adressing Project and in 2020, an intended National Census programme all as individual Silo Projects - It would have been possible to carry out one consolidated exercise altogether aimed at building an integrated ID and Census Data in one go.

10) Many Health statistics in the last 2 years have shown grave issues around Low Outpatients per capita of less than 1 (visits to Doctor); Increases in Death from Cardiac related issues (which could reduce if the former increases); Health sector Efficiency of just about 30%; Low NHIS joining rates especially among the least scheme-dependent population (healthy group); Quality Healthcare access of just about 40%..... and yet the section on health is hugely focused on building new infrastructure not focusing on service delivery. All the numbers show the vice versa should be the case.

Marricke Kofi Gane

Independent Presidential Aspirant