Ghana, with these reforms, “is a land of opportunity for private capital,” President Akufo-Addo declared.
More importantly, he added, “Ghana is ‘Open for Business’, and has taken it upon herself to build a business-friendly economy that will enable her get to the stage where the opportunities that are available will help her build an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation, beyond aid.”
President Akufo-Addo made this declaration yesterday when he delivered a speech on the theme, ‘Ghana, A Rising Star of Africa’, at an event organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in Berlin, Germany.
The governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Germany is a centre-right political party that supports a free-market economy and social welfare programmes but is conservative on social issues just like the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
KAS is a German political foundation, which started in Ghana in 1966, providing support for socio-political reforms, tries to strengthen the parliament as an institution of decision-making, promotes popular participation in the political process and law security as well as the integration of traditional structures into the modern state.
Describing corruption as “the bane of our nation’s progress”, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that “we will establish this year, by Act of Parliament, an Office of Special Prosecutor, who, independently of the Executive and with a statutorily provided security of tenure, will have the responsibility to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption, free from predictable claims of witch-hunting.”
Words, he stressed, “can no longer defeat the canker of corruption. Concrete actions must. Public service is just that, public service, not an avenue for personal enrichment.”
Year one Tangibles
President Akufo-Addo stated that there are certain tangible changes his administration aims to have in place by the end of its first year in office.
“You will discover that Ghana will be an easier place to conduct business: all transactions at our ports will be paperless, and we shall remove all internal custom barriers by the beginning of September,” he said.
The President continued, “As part of the process of formalising the economy, we will implement a digital property addressing system for Ghana this year, and also issue biometric national identification cards to residents this year, so that every resident will have a unique identification number.”
He also assured that his government intends to remove some of the quaint peculiarities of Ghanaian life that have been a source of frustration in conducting business.
“Those of you who have been to Ghana might discover that you might be able to take a taxi and simply give an address, instead of our traditional the second left, after the big tree and right where the woman roasts plantain,” he added.
Job creation, Free SHS, NHIS
President Akufo-Addo reiterated his commitment to creating the space for the private sector to grow the jobs that Ghanaian youth need.
“Our industrial regeneration, through our policy of ‘One District, One Factory’, our agricultural revival, through the programme for ‘Planting For Food and Jobs’, targeted infrastructural development, especially of our roads and railways, and promoting access to digital technology are going to be the main avenues for job creation,” he stated.
In fulfilling the most basic elements of social justice, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government has begun the processes of broadening access to quality education and quality healthcare.
“We shall, in September, begin to redeem our pledge of providing free Senior High School Education in our public schools. It is an important tool for the development of our country. We have begun to clear the arrears of debt that were strangling the National Health Insurance Scheme, Kufuor’s great legacy to our nation, so that we will have, again, a buoyant health delivery system to which even the poorest in our society can have ready access,” he added.
Bring laughter back to Ghanaians
The President stressed that good governance and a thriving economy are the surest way towards bringing back laughter into the lives of Ghanaians, and assured that “my government is working hard to make this a reality.”
Ghana, he said, can certainly learn a few things from Germany, especially in the field of skills training and the development of small and medium scale enterprises.
“We have a glaring hole in our technical and vocational education system, and we need urgent lessons in the setup of your apprenticeship scheme. There is a palpable can do spirit now in Ghana. People want to make a success of their lives, and hard work is coming back into fashion. There is a government in place that will provide the leadership needed to inspire,” he added.