President Akufo-Addo has vowed not to repeat the mistakes of late President Dr Kwame Nkrumah with regards to the nature of ownership of businesses in Ghana.
According to President Akufo-Addo, although Dr Nkrumah had a great vision for industrializing Ghana, his (Nkrumah’s) decision to make most of the enterprises built during his tenure state-owned failed to deliver the economic dividends for which they were set up.
The president made this observation in a statement read on his behalf by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo at the 16th edition of the Ghana Club 100 Awards on Thursday, November 30, in Accra.
He expressed his administration’s intention to make a departure from state ownership of industries to private ownership.
Newmont Golden Ridge Limited emerged Ghana’s topmost company, followed by MTN Ghana Limited and GOIL in the second and third positions respectively in the awards that rank a total of 100 companies in Ghana in terms of size, profitability and growth.
Right from independence in 1957 to the early 1960s under President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana embarked on an ambitious industrialization programme.
However, President Akufo-Addo expressed regret that the country could not benefit from its industrialization campaign at the time as it was expected, due to the ownership structure of most of the industries that were established.
“Ghana’s first industrial surge was recorded in the 1960s, directly after our independence, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah initiated the establishment of more than 300 state-owned enterprises to operate in all sectors of economic activity,” President Akufo-Addo underscored.
He added, “Virtually, from the skies – Ghana Airways – through investments in power, petroleum, fisheries, textiles, insurance, financial services, to the ground – agriculture. The Government of Ghana initiated, staffed, funded, managed and rendered accounts, by itself to itself.”
He observed that his administration could not afford to repeat the same mistakes of the Nkrumah regime, and has therefore decided that the private sector rather than the state should own the nation’s enterprises.
Government, he said, would rather concentrate on providing an enabling environment for private businesses to thrive.
“Government is also working hard to improve the infrastructure in our cities – roads, railways, ports, aviation, communication, as well as the rural areas – where we must add value to our time and make it easier to do business in Ghana,” he said, adding that faster and less costly import and export practices should lead to investments in better technology and machinery that will boost productivity and scale up volumes from our local industries,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.
To that end, he urged private businesses to step up their game in areas like information technology, research, design and form partnerships.
“It is our vision and drive that Ghanaian businesses first, develop themselves, and drive towards strategic partnerships with foreign investors with a common goal, create opportunities, wealth and jobs,” he urged.
He stressed, “Invest in research, design, innovation and talent. Partner with ambitious Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians to execute with technology and meet global standards.”
By so doing, according to the president, private businesses in the country will be better positioned to lead and own the industrialization process.
To the Club 100 awardees comprising several rural banks, the president charged, “Once you’re in the 100 you cannot make it business as usual; you should try to improve your business.”