The Flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo Addo in his true state of the nation address has appealed to Ghanaians to give him and his party, the opportunity to turn the economic fortunes of the country around.
He believes President John Dramani Mahama and his NDC administration has failed Ghanaians woefully, but when given the chance he will ensure the country becomes the "most business friendly economy in Africa".
“Fellow Ghanaians, it is time to build a new globally competitive economy with the NPP under my leadership. I am offering you a fresh package and a new direction. The immediate goal is to have in Ghana the most people friendly and most business friendly economy in Africa. Our emphasis will be stimulating production, expanding the productive capacity of the economy, and job creation”, he called out.
Nana Akufo Addo stressed that economic management must move side by side with an institutional framework of good governance and therefore outlined the following as some of the policies that will be critical in building this new economy:
“We will put in place an environmental policy that will lead to the effective management of our forest reserves, the recovery of millions of acres of land devastated by open-cast and alluvial mining, and the protection of our water bodies. Protecting our environment is a necessity, not an option”.
1.As our manifesto stated in 2012, we will introduce and improve upon existing skills training programmes to give our young people, including those failed by the education system, the practical skills they need to get a job as well as to drive a new industrialized economy. In partnership with the private sector, we will facilitate and support rapid development of skills, including apprenticeship training for graduates from vocational and technical schools.
2.We must put in place an effective legal framework to anchor fiscal discipline. The passage and enforcement of a Fiscal Responsibility Act that has bite will be important in this regard. It will require governments to declare and commit to a fiscal policy that can be monitored. It will include fiscal rules, including rules governing election year spending, provisions for transparency and sanctions, including sanctions on the Executive.
3.To enhance transparency, the long overdue, world class Right to Information Bill will be passed into law.
4.The time has come to bring accountability to local government through competitive politics. The election of DCEs at the local level can no longer be delayed.
5.An Independent Special Prosecutor with a legislative mandate to deal with corruption will be appointed and empowered to tackle corruption in a non-partisan manner.
6.Formalization of the Ghanaian economy will be pursued as a matter of economic strategy to expand the tax net.
The elements of this formalization process that will be completed as a matter of priority are:
1.National ID cards which this government has been unable to issue in 7 years after starving the National Identification Authority of funds will be issued in the first year.
2.Financial inclusion – Goal is to have 70% of the bankable population having bank accounts.
The movement from a cash based economy to an electronic payments based economy.
These processes would enhance the collection of more revenue even with lower tax rates.
My approach will be different from the tax, borrow and spend approach of the Mahama administration. My priority will be to reduce the cost of doing business to help small and medium-scale enterprises grow, and to make the Ghanaian economy become globally competitive. We will provide tax incentives for increasing productivity.
We are opposed to NDC measures that cripple businesses and cause unemployment. My intention is to reduce corporate tax rate, abolish VAT on Financial Services, remove duties on the importation of raw materials and manufacturing equipment, amongst other fiscal incentives, to stimulate growth of the private sector.
1.An enhanced employment Tax Credit Scheme to provide incentives for companies employing fresh graduates will be instituted.
2.We will restore the teacher and nursing training allowances and we are still committed to our program of free senior high school education for all students at that level.
3.We will deepen financial sector reforms with the objective to establishing Ghana as a leading financial hub in Africa. Unfortunately, this Government has taken us backwards in the area of financial sector reform.
4.Government continues to be in arrears on its obligations to statutory funds such as the NHIS, DACF, GETFUND, Payments to the Disabled, etc. even though government has collected the taxes that are meant for these funds. We would implement a policy of automaticity in the transfer of revenues collected for these funds so that arrears to these funds do not arise in the future.
5.Give priority focus to agriculture and value addition in agriculture – A quick win with direct benefits to the majority of the population in terms of incomes, lower food prices and jobs.
6.A concerted effort will be made to deepen the process of women’s involvement in the country’s politics and economy. We will continue with the initiatives that led President Kufuor to establish the first Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Gender equity is a cardinal concern of our times.
7.We will establish a Zongo Development Fund as part of a broader Inner City Development Strategy to support development activity in the Zongo and inner city communities.
8.All round sports development has become a social necessity, and the requisite attention of government is going to be paid to it.
9.We will establish a Fund to support the creative arts and entertainment industry to grow local talent and create jobs.
These are some of the policies that we will institute to inspire the rapid development and transformation of our economy and society.
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