The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says Ghanaians are renowned for their sense of enterprise, creativity and innovation, and the moment has come to reinvigorate that culture.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the reinvigoration of that culture should not be a difficult thing to do, though it might not look like it these days with everybody seeming to be looking for jobs in government.
“I daresay the wealth of this nation was built on the private sector and the entrepreneurial spirit of our people. Time was when the good money was made by the private sector and the risk takers, and not by public officials. We need to get back to those times,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 13th July, 2017, when he launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan (NEIP), his government’s flagship initiative, which will be the primary vehicle for providing an integrated, national support for start-ups and small businesses.
The President noted that in the last 20 years, the countries that have made rapid economic strides have been the ones that have encouraged high levels of investment in entrepreneur development.
The growth of a more entrepreneurial economy, he added, has led to the creation of jobs and the acceleration of economic growth, stressing that “we can learn a lot from this global trend to develop an entrepreneurial economy, and create a conducive and business-friendly environment in our country.”
To this end, the President stated that his government, in the past six months, has set about putting in place the measures needed to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the business environment.
“We have begun to act on the fundamentals. We are stabilising the macro-economy and the cedi. Inflation has gone down from 15.4% in December 2016 to 12.1% in June 2017, i.e. a period of six months, the lowest in four years. The benchmark 91-day Treasury Bill (T-bill) rate was 22.8% in January last year, and has narrowed to 11.9% in June 2017, the lowest in 5 years.
We have abolished a lot of taxes such as the 1% Special Import Levy, 5% VAT on Real Estate sales, 17.5% VAT on domestic airline tickets, 17.5% VAT on financial services, 17.5% VAT on selected imported medicines that are not produced locally, and have re-introduced the 3% flat VAT rate for traders,” he said.
With Ghana’s economy being predominantly an SME economy, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana’s economic growth and development “depend on how well we nurture and support start-ups and the micro, small and medium-scale enterprises to enhance their contribution to GDP, job creation and exports.”
With Micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) contributing about 70 per cent of Ghana’s GDP, and accounting for more than 92% of enterprises, the President said “we have to focus on the development of start-ups and small businesses by encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit as a national priority.”
Describing unemployment as Ghana’s greatest problem, with more young people joining in the dispiriting search for jobs every year, President Akufo-Addo reiterated the determination of his government to “change the economic conditions in our country for the better, to ensure that young people see it as a place of opportunities, instead of the place from which they flee at the peril of their lives.”
It is for this reason, he assured, that his government will “do all within our power to create an entrepreneurial climate, to enable our young people come up with creative ideas that can be developed into businesses.”