Convinced that supporting businesses to grow and create jobs is a better development alternative than vigorously taxing them to fund projects, the current NPP administration decided to initiate policies that are pro-business.
As we would recall, that option was adopted against the background of a struggle to successfully exit an IMF programme that had been foisted on us by the previous government, after we had slumped from a decent eight per cent growth to an embarrassing three.
What any typical African government would have done under the circumstances was to apply austerity measures, including devising ways to tax businesses and workers to generate enough funds to balance the national budget and fund its development agenda.
Since the 1980s into the 1990s, that was the road we took in working with our development partners in structurally reconstructing the economy.
Of course, it worked satisfactorily to some degree, except that we saw a teeming number of state and private business entities going under, with a Divestiture Implementation Committee whose work eventually left much to be desired as far as social costs were concerned.
We would also recall that the road to another phase of private sector development to create jobs to give hope for citizens to improve their living conditions became a tall order because of the legacy of mass confiscation of assets of the business class of the era.
We have moved on
As citizens, however, we have learnt our lessons and moved, creating subsequently a new generation of businessmen that spanned both political divides.
Particularly under the Kufour-led NPP administration, there was a booming of the private sector, which has dramatically been enhanced under the Akufo-Addo administration.
We have been told by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) that we currently have an appreciable league of over 200 credible investors on site and in active economic activities that are creating jobs across communities in Ghana.
That has been made possible because Ghana respected its partnerships with our development partners and chose an option that had in mind the dignity of the Ghanaian to aspire to a decent life.
Subsequently, every policy initiative that we have pursued under the Akufo-Addo administration has not only been productivity-oriented, but aimed at improving the lives and livelihoods of citizens.
From the health sector to education, and from agriculture to business support, Ghana has so excelled that it has become a natural investment destination.
We were among the fastest growing economies before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the World Bank’s projection is that despite the pandemic, we are likely to surmount the challenges that confront us and make a modest growth in 2021 ending.
Citizen and business response
How do we as citizens and businesses respond to this effort that has been clinched by dint of visionary leadership?
In the opinion of the Daily Statesman, we can only do that by opening our businesses up in deepening partnership with the state.
Both for the huge informal sector and the blossoming private sectors, we have to make a patriotic commitment to pay our taxes on time, without allowing the revenue agencies to chase us.
Government showed the way during the pandemic when it supported hundreds of thousands of businesses to stay afloat and for employees not to suffer jeopardy.
A chunk of that support also went to a section of the teeming informal sector. Again, the objective was for businesses and livelihoods to be sustained.
Leaping to the next level
As government leaps into the next level on the strength of the robust structures that have been created, our duty as businesses – formal and informal – is to strive to do what serious economies all over the world are doing. That is to show transparency in business so that government can continue partnering us to grow, expand and create jobs.
We must also open up, and obligate ourselves to complying with the existing tax regulations so that these sectors that the government has engineered out of nothing can be sustained.
For a government that has showed that it can prudently use our natural resources to initiate people-centred programmes, there is no way we must encumber it any longer by refusing to act is patriots.
That is why we plead with all citizens to begin responding to the call to be part of our national development effort through honouring of our revenue obligations.