The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that one of the major preoccupations of his administration has been to put in place sound economic fundamentals that promote the enabling atmosphere for entrepreneurs to thrive and create jobs.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “It has taken a lot of hard work and strong nerves to stay on the straight and narrow path to get the economy to start growing from the deep hole it was in. I am happy to report that all the indicators are pointing in the right direction.”
The President stated that GDP growth rate has more than doubled, from 3.6% in 2016, the lowest in two decades, to 8.5% in 2017; inflation has reduced from 15.4%, at the end of 2016, to 10.4% in March 2017; interest rates are going down; the cedi has stabilised; fiscal deficit has reduced from 9.3% in 2016, to 6% of GDP in 2017; adding that there are positive signs of revival in the industrial sector, with growth increasing from an abysmal negative 0.5% in 2016 to 17.7% in 2017.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government has introduced a number of deliberate interventions to reduce the cost of doing business and formalize the economy.
“The e-business registration system, the paperless port clearance system, the digital addressing system, the mobile interoperability system, and the national identification card system, would all help quicken the pace of change to bring us into the technology-driven era and make our businesses competitive,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, 1st May, 2018, when he delivered a speech at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium to commemorate May Day.
In the pursuit to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, President Akufo-Addo noted that Government has abolished a raft of nuisance taxes, to shift the focus from an emphasis on taxation to an emphasis on production.
“The reduction in electricity tariffs is a major plank in this policy, and the effects should be visible soon in an improvement in cost of doing business and confidence in the economy as a whole. Chairperson, it is not often that there is such good news on the economic front in our country, so I believe it bears spelling it out here that, as from 1st April, residential customers, are enjoying a 17.5% reduction,” he said.
The President continued, “non-residential customers, such as tailors, fitters, barbers, hairdressers, carpenters, mechanics, electricians, and chop bar operators, have seen their electricity bills cut by 30%; the mining companies are now benefitting from a 10% reduction; whilst special load tariff customers, such as our manufacturing companies and industries, are also enjoying a 25% reduction. Long may it continue that our affairs are managed efficiently to enable relief to be brought to the Ghanaian consumer and industry.”
As these reforms and changes work their way through the system, President Akufo-Addo was certain that “we should, very soon, be seeing a vigorous turnaround in the creation of jobs in the private sector.”
Despite his administration’s belief in the capacity of the private sector, the President indicated that his government would not be a helpless bystander that would simply look on in hope that the private sector would create jobs.
To build on the jobs created in agriculture, through the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, he noted that there has also been recruitment into the public sector of personnel in critical sectors like education, where thirty-three thousand, one hundred and sixty (33,160) teachers were recruited by the Ghana Education Service.
In the health sector, the President stressed that sixteen thousand, five hundred and two (16,502) new health workers were employed last year, with thirty-two thousand (32,000) more nurses being employed this year.
“It is important to note that there was no employment in the public sector in these two critical areas for more than three years before my government took over last year,” he added.