Veteran politician and Presidential candidate aspirant of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Hon. Joe Ghartey, has stated that the way forward for Ghana as a country is the development of the private sector.
The Essikado-Ketan Constituency Member of Parliament made this known in his keynote address to launch the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) Enterprise and Innovation Centre.
Hon. Ghartey, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, expressed the “firm belief that the way forward for us as a country is the private sector. Examples abound around the world, of the private sector being the main engine of growth in several countries.”
According to the ex-Railways Development Minister, “Countries that not too long ago did not permit a vibrant private sector, today are growing by leaps and bounds largely due to a strong and
emerging private sector. There was a time in Ghana where state ownership and the direct participation of the State in economic activity was the order of the day; but this debate between whether it the State or the private sector should be the driving force of the economy, has been effectively settled. This was settled by the provisions of the 1992 Constitution. Article 36 (2) (b) of the 1992 Constitution provides as
follows: 36 (2) (b) The State shall, in particular, take all necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principles shall include affording ample opportunity for individual intiative and creativity in economic activities and fostering an enabling environment for a pronounced role of the private sector in the economy.
The UPSA Enterprise and Innovation Centre seeks to create opportunity for the youth through enterprise and innovation.
“Recent figures from our population census puts our population at over 30 million, with a vast majority of our population being the youth. This creates an opportunity for Ghana for economic explosion. We have arguably the most important resource, human beings. We have a more educated society and the free SHS program will ensure that more and more people get access to education and also are more ready for the job market or to create jobs themselves,” Hon. Ghartey, a private sector-friendly politician, said.
“As I said previously, there are examples of the private sector being the engine of growth in several countries. This is also the case in Ghana and there are several sectors that the private sector has developed beyond our imagination. The question is what must the State and other stakeholders do to release the energies of our youth and business community in order for them to create wealth? What must be done for opportunities for enterprise and innovation to increase? The answer is not far-fetched and we do not need to look or think far for the answer. There are several examples in our recent history of how various sectors have expanded to create unimaginable opportunities. Distinguished ladies and gentleman please permit me to state a few examples,” according to him.
“Prior to the 1992 Constitution, there was only one radio and television station in Ghana, which belonged to the State that is the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation,” he said.
“Even though the 1992 Constitution sought to guarantee freedom of the press, it took
some time for our press to become truly free. In 1994, Charles Wreko Brobery tested the constitutional provisions of the freedom of the press by establishing a private radio station called Radio Eye. Graphic Online describes the birth of Radio Eye as follows: “In 1994, when residents in Accra woke up one morning to hear a radio station blaring out melodious music but not from Ghana Broadcasting Corporation we all realized that private broadcasting had been actualized.”
“This was the beginning of our walk as a nation to press freedom and led ultimately to the establishment of a multitude of radio and television stations. Today 575 radio stations have been given the permit to operate out of which 428 stations are operational. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen let us stop for a moment and just
imagine the number of direct and indirect jobs that have been created by this. What did government do to make this happen? Did Government give people money to establish these radio and television stations? Did Government subsidize the media
outlets? The answer is NO. Government simply created the legal environment which enabled the private sector to operate and indeed the private sector has responded.”
“This shows that a close review of each sector and the legal regime regulating the sector may reveal that a retooling of the legal regime of a sector to enable deeper private sector participation will open up the frontiers of the sector and create more
opportunities for all Ghanaians. In some sectors perhaps the only thing that has to be done is a review of the legal framework. There is no doubt that Government can provide incentives to the private sector in order to lead investment to a particular sector. This is by using taxation and tariff reliefs as a tool for economic development.”
“This is already being done and some sectors attract lower tax regimes than others. The rate of taxation also depends in some cases on the location of the business or industry. More education must be given to the public on the various tax incentives and benefits under which Ghanaians can operate, in order to create awareness for the private sector and more business opportunities. Some have argued that at the same time that Government is currently
urging all of us to be aligned to our civic responsibilities including the payment of
tax, reducing the rate of corporate tax may also have the net effect of increasing our
tax revenue. Some countries have done that successfully and it is worth looking at.”
“The area of mobile money transactions is another interesting area. Today momo transactions are nearly US100 billion a year. Look at the number of jobs it has created. Online marketing and sales, delivery services, aboboya and we can go on
and on about the opportunities that the private sector has created and continues to
create. The future of Ghana is the private sector and it is the private sector that will
create jobs for the country. The duty of government is to create an enabling
environment which will afford everyone the opportunity to be able to afford at the
very least the minimum necessities of life.
To the students who are participating in this Initiative and to the youth at large, I say
free your mind. Move from the mentality of appointment to a mentality of creation.”
“Don’t look for a job, create a job. Some of the richest people in the world today dreamt when they were your age and today have impacted the whole world. I am sure you know I am talking about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and the
likes. They are no better than you. You are all creations of God, created wonderfully
in his own image. Imagine how many tasks a computer can perform and your mind
is more powerful than the computer,” he urged.
“We in Ghana have produced a Secretary-General of the United Nations, we have people working all over the world including NASA. Professor Allotey, a
mathematical genius, comes to mind and many more have come out of Ghana and
impacted the world. When our forefathers thought about independence, they had to
free their minds first. The youth of today, free your mind. The world is your canvas, use it and paint a masterpiece that we will all applaud. It should be said that if our fathers gave us political independence, this generation has given us economic independence. Let me remind you that, nothing is impossible in the sight of God.”