President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday said government will consolidate the macro-economic and fiscal gains made over the past 34 months, and would work to ensure the distressed economic situation inherited in 2017 is not repeated.

He said his administration 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 (GEF) in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said he was unwavering in his commitment to maintaining financial stability and discipline in the management of the Ghanaian economy that has been rated amongst the world’s fastest growing economies.

“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.

The Forum held on the theme: ”Sustaining Financial and Economic Stability-The Key Priorities”, brought together over 300 policy makers and key business leaders to deliberate on how the country can avoid fiscal downturns in election year 2020.

The President said for Ghana to achieve her vision of moving beyond aid, “we must change course, hence the establishment of the Presidential Fiscal Responsibility Advisory Council.”

Ghana is now the only other country in sub-Saharan Africa to establish a Fiscal Council, after the Republic of Mauritius. The Council will advise the President on ensuring compliance with fiscal law, rules and targets.

President Akufo-Addo said the achievements made by his government in stabilizing the economy was “just the building blocks”, adding 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.”

He expressed the government’s commitment to work closely with the private sector to create the needed job opportunities for Ghanaians.

“My government, on its part, will continue to build an enabling environment to provide the private sector with the needed catalyst to operate profitably, grow and remain globally competitive,” he said.

Government, the President disclosed, has instituted a three-year initiative aimed at amplifying the benefits Ghanaian businesses would derive from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

Dubbed the Business Regulatory Reform Programme, the initiative will among others, strengthen local industries to make them competitive, and help make Ghana’s business environment the most transparent and efficiently regulated in Africa.

The seven-component programme will be coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and implemented in partnership with other stakeholders.

The President told the gathering that the seven components of the programme are “targeted reform initiatives’” to ensure that Ghana’s position in the annual ‘Doing Business Ranking’ improved significantly.

He said the programme will ensure that the inventory of business-related acts, legislative instruments, regulatory notices and administrative directives are available at a single electronic registry.

“This will provide businesses with an easily accessible, one-stop repository of up-to-date information on all business regulations in the country,” he said.

Another component under the Business Regulatory Reform Programme is the establishment of an interactive web portal for public consultation with the government on business related policies and legal and regulatory changes.

“Minimum standards for transparency in public consultation will be introduced, including a consultations schedule published on the portal with timelines for receiving inputs from interested stakeholders,” the President said.

He said the programme would ensure a “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.”

The reforms programme would lead to the introduction of an Impact Assessment mechanism to build a permanent system for quality control of new business regulations, and safeguard the gains made from reforms, he said.

“These assessments provide a tool to assess objectively the likely effects, positive and negative, of a new regulation, and propose better alternatives to achieve the agreed policy objective,” he said.

Also under the programme, he said, there would be targeted regulatory relief for SMEs at early stages of development to stimulate higher levels of entrepreneurship and job creation in strategic sectors.

That, he added, would be used to promote subcontracting linkages between SMEs and large industries in strategic anchor industries.

The last component under the programme, the President said, was a permanent Public-Private Dialogue Mechanism for structured dialogue between the government and the private sector.

“These reforms to improve the business environment complement and reinforce the strong measures that have been taken for financial and economic stabilization.”

“With the AfCFTA covering a market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3 trillion, across the fifty-four (54) Member States of the African Union that have signed up to the Agreement, it will serve as the vehicle for us to trade with other AU Member States in a more modern and sophisticated manner”.

“Empowered Ghanaian enterprises should be frontline actors of this new, exciting journey in Africa’s economic history,” he said.

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