THE MAHAMA 24-HOUR ECONOMY POLICY FOR GHANA’ SPEECH BY HE JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA AT THE 9TH GHANA CEO NETWORK BUSINESS COCKTAIL
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Thank you, and good night, my pricey brothers and sisters,
Captains of our industries, Chief Executives,
Ladies and gents.
I’m happy to have a second alternative to affix you at your annual end-of-year cocktail. This networking occasion gives a superb alternative to share new concepts, information, knowledge, and experiences.
And I imply experiences from Ghana that defy all of the fashions and theories taught in Business Schools – as a result of you probably have survived this financial system since 2018, then you’re a profitable world case examine.
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Like my first participation, I’ve loved your heat friendship and insightful conversations and shared nice concepts with a lot of you right here tonight. Of course, my willpower to rework Ghana’s financial system right into a 24-hour working financial system featured prominently within the conversations.
But I can’t assist however repeat the purpose made by one of many CEOs, with deep remorse written on his face, that “we want to pay every legitimate tax, BUT the needless harassment from GRA must stop. Back-dated tax audits, re-audits and assessments based on the whims of the taxman are killing businesses”, he lamented.
Ladies and gents, many companies nonetheless bear the brunt of the financial meltdown. This is as a result of, opposite to the Finance Minister’s assertion, we’ve not turned any nook, and 2024 might be a really difficult yr. Many have shut down their companies, and a whole lot of hundreds of laid-off staff are nonetheless at dwelling.
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Businesses that moved headquarters from Ghana to our neighbouring nations have but to return. The poorly thought-through banking sector clean-up has left hundreds of expert monetary sector staff, jobless and impoverished.
As I communicate, the second tranche of the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility, due on the primary of November, has nonetheless not been acquired due to a delay by our exterior collectors to log off on our debt restructuring programme.
Of course, the implications of our debt default have additionally began manifesting. For the primary time in thirty years, Ghana struggled to assemble a cocoa-syndicated mortgage, which had nearly develop into routine on our monetary calendar. Major infrastructure tasks have stopped as a result of lenders have minimize funding as a direct fallout from our debt default.
Independent Power Producers proceed to threaten energy cuts because of mounting money owed affecting their operations. A couple of days in the past, one of many producers threatened to take out 560 MW of energy earlier than a promise to pay was made. Ghanaians face grave uncertainty if extra of them observe swimsuit.
As a proud Ghanaian and a political chief, it’s disheartening that the federal government has severely broken our nation’s popularity on the worldwide stage.
Recent knowledge from obtainable analysis reveals that the price of residing in Ghana may be very excessive, and individuals are struggling to make ends meet because of the financial downturn. This consists of pensioners who invested their financial savings in authorities bonds, hoping to get pleasure from a greater retirement.
Business confidence stays low, with non-public sector credit score declining in actual phrases. As of October 2023, credit score to the non-public sector had decreased considerably by 31.6%. This is due to the federal government’s extreme borrowing during the last seven years and reliance on the short-term treasury market.
Lending charges elevated to over 32% in October 2023 because of the Bank of Ghana’s tight financial coverage, excessive treasury invoice charges, and rising non-performing loans.
The immutable actuality is that the primary three quarters of the yr (2023) have additionally been a tragic interval for Ghana’s industries, inflicting a setback for the nation’s financial transformation. While the mining and quarry sector continues to be holding out, most sub-sectors, reminiscent of development, electrical energy, water provide, sewerage, and waste administration, have skilled a decline.
These are clear indicators of an ailing financial system— an financial system whose industrial base is failing and companies collapsing with rising unemployment and its related poverty and distress. Unemployment stays excessive, with the newest knowledge indicating about 14%.
Meanwhile, the 2024 finances and monetary estimates of the federal government offered to parliament have launched, but once more, a raft of taxes that may solely add to an inventory of already burdensome taxes. These taxes, mixed with very excessive rates of interest, will additional whittle away the capital of Ghanaian companies and hinder their competitiveness.
The financial disaster has ravaged all of us, however as enterprise leaders, you have got a deeper appreciation of the present scenario. Paraphrasing Bob Marley and the Wailers, “who feels it, knows it.”
Undoubtedly, the financial disaster we face is self-inflicted and attributable to this authorities! However, for the sake of Ghanaians and the way forward for our pricey nation, we can’t permit the established order to proceed.
As flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, I’ve put forth a number of proposals to make sure that the financial system is returned to a secure footing and that financial exercise is expanded for job creation and progress.
I’ve dedicated the longer term NDC authorities to stringent enforcement of prudence and monetary self-discipline in public monetary administration. Government expenditure might be minimize and streamlined by considerably lowering the variety of overlapping businesses and amorphous creations of this NPP administration.
As I famous eventually yr’s occasion, we can’t fail to be taught from the current financial disaster. This disaster reveals there isn’t a substitute for prudent monetary administration.
Ladies and gents, we’re confronted with a triple helix drawback that threatens the steadiness of our democracy, specifically, a monetary disaster, extreme unemployment, and unprecedented ranges of corruption. Without an financial revamp, we can’t hope to make any mark in our large unemployment disaster, which is main a lot of our younger folks down the highway of despair.
Research reveals that unemployment, unavailability of jobs, poverty, excessive price and poor residing circumstances are problems with grave concern to many Ghanaians.
Chief Executives, enterprise house owners, girls and gents, we can’t proceed the business-as traditional approach of doing issues. We should assume exterior the field. We should improve effectivity by optimising obtainable sources, together with infrastructure and human sources.
Ghana should work effectively!
The stressed quest for effectivity to unravel our monetary and unemployment issues is why I’ve emphasised that greater than the normal and common strategies of financial exercise can be wanted to revitalise our financial system.
My subsequent administration will pursue tasks and programmes to rework Ghana right into a fully-fledged 24-hour financial system by optimising obtainable sources.
I acknowledge the huge assist for the concept of a 24-hour financial system by the Trades Union Congress, Civil Society Organizations, Journalists, Lecturers, Labour Consultants, CEOs and Captains of business, personnel from the inventive arts business, drivers, merchants, and the teeming unemployed youth of Ghana.
God prepared, from January 7, 2025, we will implement a sequence of TRANSITION MEASURES to handle the financial decline and set Ghana on the trail to restoration.
The proposed 24-hour financial system varieties a part of the NDC’s imaginative and prescient to construct the Ghana We Want. Let me reiterate that our quest to construct the Ghana we would like along with you’ll be premised on:
Building an industrialised, inclusive, and resilient financial system that creates well-paying jobs,
Creating an equitable, wholesome, and affluent nation,
Developing well-planned, secure communities whereas defending the pure atmosphere,
Building efficient, environment friendly, and dynamic establishments for nationwide growth; and § Strengthening Ghana’s position in African and worldwide affairs.
Ladies and gents, the 24-hour financial system might have lastly resonated with Ghanaians. It could also be categorised as an thought whose time has come because of Ghana’s self-inflicted financial disaster right this moment as a result of the 24-hour financial system initiative was well-thought-through and captured on web page 105 of the NDC’s 2020 People’s Manifesto.
Indeed, its roots emanate from the 40-year National Development Plan the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) put collectively after I was President. Unfortunately, the current authorities discarded the 40-year plan and changed it with a Ghana Beyond Aid plan that has turned Ghana right into a beggar nation.
Stripped to the necessities, girls and gents, the 24-hour coverage might be anchored as an financial system that runs across the clock with a three-shift work schedule in lots of sectors. The intent is to rework Ghana into, first, a self-sufficient after which an export-led financial system.
To be clear, we aren’t making a command financial system with centralised planning. That can be at variance with the Social Democratic ideology of the NDC.
We will mix authorities assist and personal sector involvement to grasp the 24hour financial system.
We will set up a complete coverage framework that helps the expansion of a 24hour financial system.
Legislation might be launched to assist companies working 24/7, together with labour legal guidelines, tax incentives, and rules that guarantee staff’ rights and safety.
Favourable tax insurance policies might be adopted so that companies can scale back their operational price and keep aggressive.
Companies that join the 24-hour financial system coverage will get pleasure from sensible metering calibrated to cost a lesser tariff (per KW/h) for energy consumed throughout off-peak hours at night time based mostly on a Time of Use (ToU) tariff system.
Financing assist might be offered for sure strategic agro-processing companies and manufacturing firms to spice up manufacturing for worth addition, self-sufficiency, and elevated exports.
Knowing that the federal government is the largest spender within the financial system, we will enhance demand by guaranteeing that each one authorities ministries, businesses, assemblies, and stateowned enterprises purchase made-in-Ghana items and procure the providers of Ghana-based companies the place obtainable.
We will handle security and safety measures to make sure easy operations throughout all sectors throughout prolonged hours.
We will see the supply of the mandatory infrastructure, reminiscent of transportation networks, public facilities, and safety methods, together with a well-regulated and monitored non-public safety structure to facilitate round the clock actions.
Technology and digital infrastructure funding would even be prioritised to allow automation and seamless operations.
We can’t have a profitable 24-hour financial system with out an aggressive enlargement in our exports.
I’ll, due to this fact, personally chair an Accelerated Exports Development Council (AEDC), which is able to meet quarterly to assessment initiatives for increasing Ghana’s exports underneath the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
There might be intensive session and collaboration with varied stakeholders, together with CEOs, companies and staff’ unions.
Businesses might be inspired to empower the workforce with the mandatory abilities and coaching to thrive in a 24-hour financial system, specializing in essentially the most impacted sectors.
Sanitation, cleansing providers, rubbish assortment and environmental safety may even kind a big a part of the 24-hour financial system.
Financial providers on the port, transport brokers, and customs might be enabled to work extra shifts at night time and at weekends to permit for the 24/7 clearing of products at our ports. This will assist scale back demurrage costs on importers and scale back congestion at our ports.
My brothers and sisters, there might be no restrict to the sectors the 24-hour financial system initiative will goal. And the advantages might be monumental. Through the 24-hour financial system, we’ll create new, respectable, and well-paying jobs for the youth, scale back unemployment, which is a big problem, and enhance the residing requirements of Ghanaians.
Also, the expanded vary of working or working hours will improve productiveness and absolutely utilise all sources, together with infrastructure. The 24-hour financial system will present larger flexibility and comfort for staff and permit residents to entry items and providers anytime.
We will enhance infrastructure, lighting, and safety at leisure districts such because the Osu Oxford Street, Abeka LaPaz, East Legon Lagos Avenue, and so forth., to permit operations all through the night time – Consider hospitality, transportation, and safety, together with a well-regulated and monitored non-public safety institution. These will improve the patron expertise and create a thriving and dynamic financial system.
Let me add that the 24-hour financial system may even entice international direct funding to stimulate the native financial system and create extra employment alternatives for Ghanaians.
We would wage a powerful battle in opposition to corruption to scale back waste and lower your expenses for reinvestment within the financial system. The sword of the battle in opposition to corruption will minimize each methods – in opposition to previous authorities officers, officers of the incumbent administration, civil and public servants, companies, authorities suppliers, and so forth.— in the event that they fall foul of the legislation.
We would assessment our legal guidelines governing the extractive business in order that Ghana can improve its share and native participation in exploiting our pure sources.
I imagine that with improved revenues from the financial savings made out of a decreased dimension of presidency, the anti-corruption battle, fast-tracked operationalisation of recent oil and gasoline wells, elevated funding within the mining sector and a revamped cocoa sector, we will ease the heavy burden of tax that has been positioned on Ghanaian households and companies.
Ladies and gents, we within the NDC have by no means claimed to be repositories of all information, and so we sit up for the mutual sharing of concepts and insights with you as we’ve carried out right here tonight. We must community extra, and I sit up for one other alternative the place I can sit and work together, take your questions, share extra ideas, and imbibe your ideas to deal with our collective issues.
When entrusted with the governance of this nation and the administration of the financial system, I pledge on behalf of the NDC to remain the course of prudence to keep up stability and predictability within the financial system.
Incidentally, right this moment is December 7, and a yr right this moment, we’d have begun counting and tallying the outcomes of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. By this time, Ghana might be making ready for the outcomes of a decisive election for CHANGE. We are assured that the survival of companies like yours will depend on a secure macroeconomic atmosphere. It may even rely on the necessity for change subsequent yr.
I stay optimistic in regards to the Mahama 24-hour financial system initiative.
In a quickly advancing world financial system, by which nations worldwide are progressively drifting and adopting 24-hour economies to stay aggressive and entice investments – Ghana can’t be neglected.
With growing urbanisation, the place many beforehand rural communities have gotten urbanised with its related larger demand for items, together with meals, drinks, and providers across the clock – Ghana can’t be neglected.
With an increasing providers sector by which healthcare, tourism, leisure, Business Processing Outsourcing and Call Centres have the potential to function optimally and constantly – Ghana can’t be neglected.
With technological developments enabling communication, coordination, and transactions at any time, making it simpler for companies to function 24 hours, seven days per week – Ghana can’t be neglected.
Finally, my pricey CEOs, let me guarantee you that we will pursue initiatives that permit the non-public sector to flourish constantly and visibly and in a approach that improves upward socio-economic mobility and social justice.
My dedication is to cease the extreme and direct competitors between the federal government, its businesses, and cronies with non-public companies by means of doubtful restriction mechanisms and aggressive enterprise regulation.
The 24-hour financial system is a game-changer for the Ghanaian financial system. It will profit your companies, employment and the enjoyment of the youth who’re searching for jobs.
We shall vigorously pursue the 24-hour financial system, amongst many different initiatives, as a part of our broader imaginative and prescient and willpower to extend financial progress, create jobs, and enhance the standard of lifetime of Ghanaians.
We shall work with you to construct the Ghana we would like collectively.
Thank you, and Merry Christmas.
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