President Akufo-Addo has assured Ghanaians that his Government will continue to “demonstrate its commitment and determination to ensuring that the habits and sins of past managers of our public finances, are no longer visited on this or future generations.”
Speaking at the 8th Edition of the Ghana Economic Forum, on Wednesday, October 30, the President stated that if Ghana is to realise her vision of moving to a situation beyond aid, that is a Ghana no longer dependent on the benevolence or charity of foreign taxpayers and donors for the management of her public finances, “we must change course, hence the establishment of the Presidential Fiscal Responsibility Advisory Council.”
Ghana, President Akufo-Addo noted, is now the only other country in sub-Saharan Africa to establish a Fiscal Council, after the Republic of Mauritius.
The Council, composed of eminent economists, is headed by a former Vice President of the IMF and former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, the distinguished public servant, Dr. Paul Acquah, whose remit is to advise the President on ensuring compliance with fiscal law, rules and targets, which include a budget deficit of not more than 5% of GDP, a positive primary balance, and a debt to GDP ratio of not more than 65%, as provided by law, the first time such a law has been enacted in our history.
“I am committed to fiscal rectitude becoming an essential feature of our DNA in the management of our public finances and national economy,” he assured.
Private Sector Development
Describing the achievements in financial and economic stability chalked by his Government as “just the building blocks”, President Akufo-Addo stated that the actual building “will have to be constructed by the private sector, because my Government believes in the primacy of the private sector, and we will continue to improve the business environment, and offer the critical support needed for the private sector to survive and thrive.”
Government, he said, has introduced a Business Regulatory Reform Programme, which is a three-year initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and implemented in partnership with other stakeholders, aimed at improving the business atmosphere in the country.
“Consisting of seven (7) components, the Programme will help Ghana to have one of the most transparently and efficiently regulated business environments in Africa,” the President added.
The seven components are “Targeted Reform Initiatives”, which will ensure that Ghana’s position in the annual Doing Business Ranking improves significantly; “One-Stop Registry of all Business Regulations”, which will ensure that the inventory of business-related acts, legislative instruments, regulatory notices, and administrative directives are available in a single electronic registry.
The others include “A Voice for All in Public Consultations”, which is an interactive web portal for public consultation with government on business-related policy, legal and regulatory changes; “Rolling Review of business regulations, using Regulatory Guillotine principles”, which is a functioning e-Registry and Consultations Portal that will enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies to carry out systematically rolling reviews of regulations, in order to reduce turnaround times and the cost of compliance; and “Regulatory Impact Assessment “to be introduced in order to build a permanent system for quality control of new business regulations, and safeguard the gains made from reforms.
The President added that “Targeted Regulatory Relief” which will grant SMEs, at early stages of development, targeted relief from regulatory requirements in order to stimulate higher levels of entrepreneurship and job creation in strategic sectors, and gradually phase-in standard rules as the firms begin to grow; and “Permanent Public-Private Dialogue Mechanism”, which provides a permanent mechanism for structured dialogue between Government and the private sector, are the two components of the reform programme.
“These reforms to improve the business environment complement and reinforce the strong measures that have been taken for financial and economic stabilisation. Together, these reforms and measures position Ghana strategically to take maximum advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and strengthen our role as the host country for its Secretariat,” he said.