President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced the establishment of an integrated bauxite and aluminium development authority tasked with mobilising the relevant resources towards the development of an integrated industry right from the extraction of bauxite to the production of aluminium.
He said the country had enormous natural resources such as bauxite and iron ore that remained untapped and under-developed.
“We have taken the decision that, come what may, we are going to bring those resources into play. The integrated bauxite and aluminium authority will be established in the next three months,” the President announced.
Nana Akufo-Addo announced this when he addressed a presidential debate with President Macky Sal of Senegal at the fifth edition of the Africa CEOs Forum in Geneva.
The President observed that there were equally important iron ore deposits in the western and northern parts of the country, as well as manganese, and that the country needed strategic investors in that regard.
Harnessing all resources
He stressed the fact that the opportunities were there for Ghanaians, that Ghana had the resources to bring things into play, and that what was required was the political will to say we were bringing all those resources into play.
President Akufo-Addo said his government would take every step to ensure that all the natural resources of the country were fully harnessed for economic growth and development.
Instead of being weighed down by the challenges it inherited, he said, the focus would be more on the deployment of the necessary policies and the creation of a congenial environment to ensure a resilient economy and prosperity for the people.
Towards that end, he said, one major reform that the government was pursuing was to strengthen the private sector and ensure a significant reduction of the country’s fiscal deficit from nine to six per cent this year.
Finding solutions locally
For him, it was fundamental for African countries to achieve a system of independence that would allow them to harness their human and material resources to build their nations without aid.
According to the President, the private sector had suffered major deficits, such as poor access to credit, high interest rates, erratic power supply and a business climate that was not conducive, but was quick to add that the government had started doing something about the deficits.
The target, he said, ought to be the construction of a better path for the nation, adding: “Even more important is the need for us to position our national economy on the path of self-sustaining growth.”
President Akufo-Addo pointed out that the first budget of his government had outlined some fairly radical new measures and that many of the taxes that were instituted “in the period when our deficit was growing have either been reduced or abolished”.
Revival and modernisation of agriculture
“We have taken as much as GH¢1 billion in taxes out of the revenue net for the doing of business in Ghana, with the commitment of doing more,” he said.
The revival and modernisation of agriculture, he told the panel, was also a major beam that Africa could take seriously to create employment and provide jobs for the people.
He pointed out that his commitment was, at least, to match the four per cent of revenue allocated to the sector by the Kufuor-led government, compared to the one per cent dedicated to agriculture in the erstwhile Mahama administration.
“If the country is to make any meaningful change in the lives of the people, our efforts must be directed at this sector. The majority of people can only feel a change in their lives when we develop agriculture,” he added.
The President urged governments of Africa to look at ways to address the challenges confronting the agricultural sector as part of measures to revamp their economies.
He observed that the free flow of information among nations on the development of their oil and gas industries, as well as the sharing of experiences, would enhance the management of revenue from that sector in a manner that would bring better benefit to the people.
Commendations and going forward
Speaking on The Gambia, President Akufo-Addo commended President Macky Sal for his role in The Gambia, since the example the former Gambian leader wanted to set was not the best for the African continent.
He also made reference to the transition of power from President Mahama to his government and commended former President Mahama for that.
The President called on African governments to follow laid-down procedures in order to exploit the opportunities that free trade could present in the creation and sustenance of resilient economic growth.
While not being against the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he opined that it was high time African countries were allowed to independently draw their programmes on how to move their people out of poverty, saying that was what “we must pursue for others to follow”.