Business News of Wed, 15 Mar 20173
Time to grow industry and agriculture - President Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reaffirmed the determination of his government to ensure the growth of the country’s industry and agriculture, stressing: “it is only by growing our economy that we can solve the problems of our economy, principally youth unemployment.”
According to the President, his government took over an administration that had already collapsed and as such, there was the need for a new direction.
“Our first task is to revive our economy, and put it on the road to growth and expansion. We want to grow our industry and our agriculture, and have a solid financial system that will support the growth of these two sectors,” he said.
The President made this determination yesterday when the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu, paid a courtesy call on him, at the Presidency, to congratulate him on his victory in the December 2016 elections.
The President noted that the private sector was the way forward for the country and that his government’s first budget had spelt out clearly how it would handle the sector
“We have removed the many impediments there are for businesses. We want to signal to the private sector that we mean business. We are counting on UBA to have a good understanding of where we are going, and be in a good position to fund some of these critical developments in industry and agriculture,” President Nana Akufo-Addo stated.
Sounding optimistic about the Ghana’s future, the president told the UBA Chair: “we want to build a Ghana beyond aid. We are tired of being beneficiaries of handouts and charity. We want to be able to stand on our own two feet and deal with our issues ourselves.”
The President expressed his gratitude for the visit of the UBA Chair, adding: “we are all in admiration of the work you’ve been doing, not just concentrating on Nigeria, but, looking beyond the borders to countries like Ghana and beyond.”
With UBA being the first Nigerian bank to set up in Ghana, during the era of President Kufuor, largely as a result of the positive business atmosphere created in the country, President Akufo-Addo noted that he was keen on recreating a pro-business climate in Ghana to spur on development.
“UBA is the kind of partner that we are looking for to assist us in the delivery of our vision and mandate,” he noted.
He assured that neither his government nor his appointees were in office to compete with business men, reiterating that they were in office to facilitate and increase business confidence in Ghana, and, by that way, develop the country rapidly.
Tony Elumelu, for his part, assured the President of his bank’s support for the growth and development of the critical sectors of Ghana’s economy, as government seeks to return the nation back onto the path of progress and prosperity.
According to Tony Elumelu, investor confidence in Ghana is rising, following the pro-business and pro-private approach taking by the government of President Nana Akufo-Addo. This, coupled with policy initiatives announced in the 2017 budget, is making Ghana the investment destination in the region.
“We are very happy about all of this, and we would like to associate ourselves with your government and support you to succeed, both in banking and in other sectors of the economy,” he said.
With UBA engaged in other ventures such as real estate, hospitality, oil and gas, and the generation of power, and with 30 branches in Ghana, Tony Elumelu noted that the bank is the biggest generator of electricity in Nigeria today. He also recounted how, during the era of the Mahama administration, UBA supported government to the tune of $1.1 billion
On the government’s 1-District-1-Factory policy, the UBA Chair indicated that his bank was prepared to support government in the realization of this vision, as well as help in boosting the country’s revenue generation.
“Africa lacks economic independence, and people like you, Mr. President, can provide the new hope for Africa and we will stand by you. You have in us willing and capable partners who are proud and happy to identify themselves with you,” he added.