Ghana’s economy is structured around the export of raw materials. We still export our gold, cocoa, fruits and our new found oil in their raw state. We cannot indefinitely rely on this structure and these exhaustible resources to grow our economy and modernise our country. Transforming the economy will mean instead of just exporting our natural resources and raw materials we will add value for higher revenue by industrialising and adding value. By industrialising our economy we will facilitate significant job creation by the private sector. Above all, we will ensure that the private sector is the real engine of growth that will create opportunity and jobs for all, whilst Government will provide the strategic leadership and enabling environment to make this transformation happen
In the next two decades, the population of West Africa is estimated to reach some 500 million people. We are fully committed to the ECOWAS integration project, for Ghana has the potential to be at the centre of economic activities for this vast regional market.
We will implement a trade policy that creates jobs. We have a tariff regime designed to maximise revenue but which in fact damages local industry and as a result Ghana’s economy. The short-term revenue gains from such taxes are attained at the expense of long-term production and jobs. Consequently many of our SMEs are not in production and industry, where they can and should be. We will review tax laws to reduce costs of equipment and imported raw materials for manufacturing, health, ICT, real estate, etc. We will implement a trade policy that works for Ghana in creating jobs and is attractive and reassuring to the investor.
We will also focus on Commercial diplomacy to open up markets for our goods and services. We will transform the Tariff Advisory Board into an independent Ghana International Trade Commission to deal with unfair trade practices. We would implement measures to improve the efficiency of the ports and enhance revenue collection at the same time.
We will increase agricultural production and adding value to our products through agro processing. We will support and promoting our industries, especially small- and medium scale entrepreneurs and businesses to be competitive in import substitution and exports. We will implement policies for developing and adding value to our natural resources, including oil and gas, salt, gold, bauxite, iron ore, manganese and our agricultural products. We will promote high-value services, including penetration of ICT services, financial services, education, health and tourism, all for which Ghana is competitive.
We will encourage and support the pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ghana to make it the centre for the sub region and beyond.
The Agriculture sector lacks sophistication and is dominated by subsistence farmers. Approximately 3 million smallholder farmers with average farm sizes between 0.5-2 hectares currently produce 95% of the country’s food crops. Further, as indicated by the Ministry for Food and Agriculture and AGRA, Ghana faces increasing food security challenges in the near future. This is due to the pervasively fragmented value chain, inefficiency and obsolete farming techniques and equipment in the sector. We will target development in all four of Ghana’s breadbaskets to enhance productivity and production in selected food crops (maize and rice) and high value cash crops (horticultural products).
We shall adapt the integrated approach to the agricultural sector that we proposed and was executed under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) project. This integrated approach recognizes that the transversal interventions or key constraints affecting the sector will have to be tackled simultaneously to produce a sustained result.
To modernize agriculture within the framework of structural transformation of the economy, we will take the following specific measures as well:
•Small Scale Farmers: We will encourage our small scale farmers to adopt new and improved agricultural technologies and seeds, mitigate their over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture through irrigation, provide them with quality and affordable fertilizer and improve land tenure and acquisition. Commercial Agriculture: we will encourage private sector investments into large-scale commercial agriculture
•Access to Land for Agriculture: We are committed to completion of the restructuring of the Land Title Registration and the Land Administration Projects to facilitate the efficient transfer of title and use of agricultural land.
•Finance: We will reform security in title to land to make it possible to extend the benefits of micro-lending and other forms of finance to ordinary farmers with limited capital and resources.
Infrastructure: We will create more access roads to our farm-gates and market centres to mitigate post-harvest losses and ensure availability of foodstuff to consumers. Research and Extension services: We will build on our earlier effort to encourage the modernisation of agriculture through education, research and mechanisation.
Irrigation: We intend to expand irrigation coverage nationwide, especially in the Afram Plains and in Northern Ghana. We will develop and facilitate community-owned and managed facilities like dams, boreholes, and dugouts to expand irrigation.
•Mechanisation: We will encourage the establishment of 250 mechanisation centres across the country to provide mechanisation services to farmers at competitive prices.
•Education, Research and Technology Development: We will restructure agricultural research institutions to build on the high yielding crop varieties and technologies already developed and provide greater support to farmers.
•Input support: The use of fertilisers is low, and less than 5% of farms in Ghana use any added nutrients of any kind, owing to cost and lack of easy availability.
•Agro Processing: We will encourage and support agro-processing so that domestic production will compete with imports, with the aim of replacing imports over time and promote exports.
We will support Ghanaian enterprises to be competitive globally. We will reduce the overall cost of doing business and make Ghana attractive as an investment opportunity by streamlining bureaucracy, and achieving macroeconomic stability. We will implement fiscal and monetary policies to bring down interest rates and improve access to credit. We will also implement measures to stabilize the exchange rate of the Ghana cedi and have in place reliable infrastructure and a sound regulatory framework.
The value of the minerals in our country, including salt, is estimated to be in excess of US$1 trillion. We have developed plans to add value to them. We will attract the necessary capital to mine our bauxite to build a multi-billion dollar integrated aluminum industry, as envisaged by the Kufour government. We will use a similar model to exploit our iron ore deposits and build urgently a new iron and steel industry, which can also process West African ore currently being shipped to Europe for refining.
Presently, our oil refinery is not working. The NDC government is willfully starving it only to import finished products. We will change this. We will use the oil & gas find to build a strong petrochemical industry in Ghana, using both private and public financing, and create linkages with other businesses to turn Ghana into a centre for light industry in our region.
Public Financial management
We will implement reforms to address corruption and enhance efficiency in management of public finances. We will close the loopholes in the Public Procurement Act and administration to ensure value for money and transparency in the award of contracts. We will strengthen the Auditor General’s Department, as well as, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to make them more efficient agencies for governance and accountability.
We will strengthen the financial sector by implementing financial sector reforms aimed at encouraging savings, deepening the capital markets to make affordable long-term finance available to businesses, and bringing efficiency in the way we transact business.
•We will encourage the setting up of credit unions for teachers, health workers, security agencies, civil and public servants, etc. as an alternative to established banking institutions.
•We also need to facilitate inclusion of the unbanked by the use of ICT and by encouraging mobile banking and growing online and telephone banking services. We will intensify our reforms to transform Ghana from a cash-only economy to an electronic payments based economy.
We will implement a transparent and comprehensive tax policy that is designed to facilitate economic growth whilst also ensuring efficiency, responsibility and accountability in government expenditure. In this regard the NPP will introduce a Fiscal Responsibility Act to enforce the prudent management of Ghana’s public finances.