Viewpoint : Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana has good human capital and our economy has great possibility for accelerated growth and job creation. In recent years, admittedly, our economy has not done so well, and we have not been successful in appreciably improving the living standards of our people. Our country has an abundance of valuable natural resources, and we have no excuse to waste our good fortune; we will bring progress and prosperity to the citizens. I took office in January 2017 with clear orders from the Ghanaian people. They demanded the charting of a new path, a path that offers a fair opportunity for all, where hard work, enterprise and creativity are rewarded, where there are plenty of decent jobs with good pay, where there is dignified retirement for the elderly and a social safety net for the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. We believe that growing the economy with a level playing field is the best option for our people and our country’s future, and that is what we will do.
We have worked very hard to put the Ghanaian economy back on track. The economic fundamentals, which were for a long time off target, are now starting to point in the right direction. We experienced a growth rate of 8.5% in 2017, likely to be repeated in 2018, up from 3.6% in 2016. In addition, the attainment of single-digit inflation, a relatively stable currency despite the challenges of a strong dollar, a reduction in lending rates, the implementation of polices such as the paperless port system, e-business registration and the mobile interoperability system are all helping to formalise the Ghanaian economy, while lowering the cost of doing business and cutting down on excessive bureaucracy. In addition to these, a number of taxes that were challenging businesses and business owners have either been abolished or reduced. Utility tariffs such as electricity and water have also seen significant reductions. Business and industry are enjoying electricity tariff reductions of up to 30% and a 10% reduction in water tariffs. We believe in the primacy of the public sector and we are working to enhance the prospects for both the private sector and the country, creating an environment where companies do not just survive, but actually thrive. We believe in market principles, and welcome investors that want to work towards these and help build our economy. This is an exciting time to be in Ghana and do business in the country. Already, global car manufacturing firms such as Germany’s Volkswagen and China’s Sinotruk, US energy giant ExxonMobil and Norway’s Aker Energy, as well as Google, have signalled their intentions of establishing bases here and I believe it is for good reason. I would urge all to take advantage of the growing business-friendly climate and invest in Ghana. The government’s flagship polices of One District, One Factory and One Village, One Dam, and the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, are solid investment destinations, as is water, health, housing, roads and rail infrastructure, transport, industry, agriculture, oil and gas, the exploitation of our mineral wealth of bauxite, iron and gold, renewable energy and ICT.
The government has instituted a number of incentives, depending on the nature of the activity or the location of investment to ensure a successful investment. These incentives include exemptions of import duty payments for plant machinery; 23% tax rebate for companies located in regional capitals; 50% tax rebate for companies investing outside of regional capitals in the regions; 0% corporate tax for 10 years; and thereafter 8% for companies in the free zones enclaves; full repatriation of dividends and profits; transfer of funds to service foreign loans; and laws that ensure against the arbitrary confiscation of companies or investments.
I can assure those investing in Ghana that their investments are protected and safe, as it is a country governed in accordance with the rule of law, where the ability of the separation of powers and an independent judiciary to engender accountable governance is real.
The above is an abridged version of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s keynote address made on October 14, 2018 at the UK-Ghana Investment Summit in Accra, Ghana.
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