The President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday announced that former Trade and Industry Minister Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen would hold the same portfolio in his administration.
Political Pundits had already tipped the former trade advisor at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and diplomat to head that Ministry, and the confirmation of the President-elect was hailed by industry players, who have expressed satisfaction in the calibre of the would be appointee.
Nana Akufo-Addo made the confirmation at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Private Enterprises Federation (PEF) in Accra, where he addressed captains of the industry on his policies that would propel the country into rapid economic and industrial growth.
Nana Akufo-Addo said: “I came here with Alan Kyerematen, because he is the person who is going to be the Minister of Trade and Industry in the Akufo-Addo Government.“…I thought you should know this, and know that you are going to be dealing with a very competent and knowledgeable political figure of the first rank, whom I am confident is going to oversee the rapid industrialisation of our country.”
The President-elect prefaced his address with a reminder that he only accepted to speak at the AGM because of the invitation extended him, since he was yet to be inaugurated.Nana Akufo-Addo said:“I had a slight moment of hesitation about accepting your invitation at this time because I thought the timing was a bit awkward. The elections are over, I am no longer a candidate, we have won an emphatic victory but our mandate does not come into effect until January 7.
“I decided I should come to your gathering because as the apex Business Council in Ghana, representing over 80% of all Ghanaian businesses, both in the formal and informal sector, you constitute a critical part of the solution to the main task of the Akufo-Addo Government.
“I need to have you on board right from the start and there can’t be a better time to have this conversation. If, as we believe, the private sector is to lead in the development of the national economy, PEF and its members are key constituents in any discussion on Ghana’s future.”
Nana Akufo-Addo assured the industrialists and business people of his commitment to creating a competitive economy that would produce sustainable growth with the involvement of the Government and private sector.He said his government would provide a more conducive environment and business climate to allow the private sector to flourish, as it shifted emphasis from a taxation to production economy.
“To achieve our objectives, our principal economic policy direction will be to restore macroeconomic stability, shift the focus of economic management from taxation to production, manage the economy competently, and make the machinery of Government work to deliver the benefits of progress to Ghanaians.”
Nana Akufo-Addo told the meeting that the private sector should have the confidence to exploit all the opportunities in the friendly business environment to be created under administration.“Once in government, our priority is to do all we can to give you the confidence of a positive business environment devoid of arbitrary and irrational policy initiatives and one that gives you the confidence to do what you do best.”
On public debt, the President-elect said his administration would adopt and implement rules to anchor fiscal policy implementation, stating that there would be specific targets for the reduction of government borrowing and debt.He said Ghana under his administration would enact a Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) to bring comprehensiveness, accountability, transparency and stability to the entire budgetary process.
Under this law, a Fiscal Council would be established to set up medium-term fiscal policy and monitor compliance.Nana Akufo-Addo said the nation would formalise the economy through the establishment of a national database, using the National Identification System as the primary identifier, with linkages to the databases of institutions such as the Police, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Passport Office, Immigration, the Courts, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
In addition, the currency exchange rate would be stabilised for the long term through prudent and disciplined macroeconomic management, with an increase in domestic production and exports.He assured the nation that the incoming government would put in place a policy framework that would help businesses expand and create jobs, as well as promote entrepreneurship opportunities for young Ghanaians.
“We believe that job creation is essentially a private sector activity, and we will put in place the policy framework that will help businesses expand and create jobs, as well as promote the growth of entrepreneurship opportunities for young Ghanaians in particular,” he said.
“We have a clearly thought out agenda for job creation in place and I invite you to join us for its rapid implementation.”On business financing, the President-elect expressed worry at the high cost of capital and interest rates and promised that the incoming government would re-focus the National Investment Bank (NIB) to provide finance for the industrial sector.
It would also establish an Industrial Development Fund (IDF) to finance critical private sector industrial initiatives and re-align the focus of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to attract financing and investments into selected strategic industries.The President-elect touched on energy, raw materials, skills development, and empowerment of local businesses for industrial growth and announced strategic measures that would be put in place to address the shortfalls.