The Alliance for Development and Industrialization (ADI), an advocacy group which brings together new generation entrepreneurs and industrialists under one umbrella, has urged incoming President Nana Akufo-Addo to consider new policies for accelerated development beyond that which are captured in the party’s manifesto.
The group said this in a congratulatory message to the President-elect on his electoral victory, and consequent mandate to form and lead the government over the next four years.
“We are optimistic that the incoming President will oversee changes in the operating environment for businesses that will make it more private enterprise friendly, and will implement macro-economic policies that will make Ghana more attractive for both local and foreign investment, while significantly improving the living standards of the general populace. We also congratulate all the winners of Parliamentary seats and look forward to their enlightened, committed, efforts to devise and pass legislation that will benefit Ghana and its citizens.”
“We hold the view that the expansionary, supply-side driven economic policies mooted by the incoming government are in the right direction and our members are committed to supporting the efforts of the State in actualizing them for the benefit of all Ghanaians.”
The group is however demanding that the incoming government goes beyond the policies proposed in its election manifesto, to introduce further policies that have the potential to radically transform Ghana’s development paradigm.
“To this end, we advocate that the incoming government adopt the following specific policies in furtherance of its agenda for accelerated economic growth and restructuring of the economy for sustainable development over the long term.”
•The one district, one industry policy should be a minimum, rather than an ultimate target. The fact is that the one district, one industry policy is needed in that it would ensure a minimum level of industrialization, and consequent value addition, wealth creation and employment generation in every district, thus ensuring the spread of industrial activity and its benefits nationwide.
However, not all districts are equally endowed with inputs for industrial production; indeed some districts have the potential to host several economically viable projects, and such districts should not be deprived of the opportunity to fully fulfill their potentials. Rather government should deliberately encourage and indeed facilitate as many industries as are viable in each district.
•Churches should be encouraged and facilitated to own businesses, especially in the hinterlands, where they are potentially the most capable institutional investors available. They possess the requisite capital, have access to capable human resources and importantly, are more likely to apply ethical conduct to their operations.
Besides this holds the potential to resolve the long-debated issue of taxation of churches. If they are actively involved in business, they can be taxed on their business profits rather than on their collections.
•Deliberate efforts need to be made to enhance the readiness of the Civil Service to perform its roles. In particular, we insist that the incoming government establishes the Advisory Board for each ministry as demanded by the Civil Service Law of 1993. The law calls for every Ministry to have an Advisory Board which consists, among others of the sector Minister, Deputy Minister and representatives of the three private sector organizations that have the most interaction with the Ministry. The purpose of the Advisory Boards is to facilitate optimal interface between each Ministry and the private sector which it is mandated to both support and regulate.
We assert that the Advisory Boards would be crucial in improving the quality of service provided the private sector by government. Crucially, they are required by law and the failure of successive governments in Ghana to constitute them has made them fall foul of the law and indeed exposes government to corrective legal action.
•There is the need for reforms in the tertiary sector in order to make its graduates more relevant and useful when they begin their working careers. To this end there is the need to move from paper-based education to virtual modes of education, using modern technology. This will allow for the immediate addition of new things into the curricula where relevant.
•Related to this is the need to establish an educational sector alliance between the tertiary institutions and industry, under which industry can develop curricula for tertiary institutions based on the skills and knowledge they actually need for their practical operations. Students who go through such industry-driven courses could then go on to do internships/industrial attachments with organizations that need those skills in order to learn precisely how to deploy them.
•Finally, we strongly recommend that the National Service Scheme be redesigned as a private sector driven scheme, rather than the government driven scheme which it is currently. This would require private sector organizations to be given the chance to take on NSS members ahead of the public sector. Since NSS members are paid below market rates, government stands to make revenues from charging beneficiary private enterprises a fee for letting them use Scheme members on the cheap.
This the group says would also improve the chances of fresh tertiary graduates being employed, because of their exposure to potential private sector employers and the practical skills and competencies they would learn during their national service year
“ADI will continue to come up with well thought out policy recommendations and suggestions into the future, based on the practical needs and experiences of the corporate sector. Importantly, our policy concepts are based on the modern economy which has best international practices and the optimal use of technology as its pillars. We welcome new membership from new generation entrepreneurs and industrialists who wish to contribute to Ghana’s accelerated growth and development through advocacy for a better environment for responsible and beneficial economic activity to flourish,” the group said in a statement.