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President Akuffo Addo vows to fight corruption and revamp the economy; great, let’s get to work then


akufo-addoAfter a grueling campaign season and a remarkably successful elections, the baton of political leadership was passed on to the New Patriotic Party. Indeed, Saturday was another watershed moment in our fascinating national history; a peaceful transfer of power to a democratically elected government.

The large ceremony and its inherent symbolism aside, what unfolded on Saturday morning at Independence Square in Accra, was ample testimony to our continuous maturation as a democratic enclave.

For sure, the journey towards a democratic nirvana has not been smooth nor has it been strewn with roses. There have, certainly, been stumbles, pitfalls and trials and tribulations. There were times when we reached a boiling point, and almost went over the cliff.

Some feared we had lost our grip on a worthwhile democratic experiment and urged abandonment. But we resisted the temptation to revert to the old style of governance with its propensity for violence and abuse of human rights.

Through it all, we persevered, soldiering on, and continuing to make progress, fulfilling our hopes and aspirations for a better Ghana, while earning the admiration of our neighbors and a watchful world, and remaining a beacon of hope for many on the African continent.

In a speech that was excruciatingly long, but nonetheless, inspirational, the new president Nana Akuffo Addo stated clearly his desire to “make Ghana great again.”  “It is time to imagine and dream again, a new dawn has arisen,” he told Ghanaians.

Bubbling with confidence, the fifth president of Ghana promised to resuscitate the economy which over the last ten years has struggled to create jobs our teeming youth desperately need. Let us be honest here: Mr. Addo has inherited an economy with several contortions and the challenge to fix it will be particularly arduous.

And with a global economy to which our economy is intricately linked, still in a funk, it will take miracles to turn it around overnight. But the president thinks he can get things done so long as he opens the country to foreign investors and pursues fiscally prudent and salient economic policies:

“The doors of Ghana are open again. There could not be a better opportunity to make it in Ghana. Ghana is open to business again,” Mr. Addo said. And as an added incentive, he pledged to reduce taxes and remove impediments that serve as challenges to doing business in Ghana.

The NPP is an avowedly capitalist and market oriented political entity; it is therefore not in the least surprising that it thinks the best way to create an attractive business environment is to reduce taxes and remove stubborn regulations.

Of course, our ailing economy sorely needs a boost, a shot in the arm, but the president’s prescriptions are just not what the doctor ordered. Tax reduction deprives the government of the much needed revenue it requires to meet its set goals.

Our national coffers are empty and need a massive infusion of cash; taxes are the one sure way to replete them. And lest we forget, our corporate tax rate of 25 percent is one of the lowest in Africa. Slicing the tax rate would not be sound fiscal policy.

Mr. Addo vowed to judiciously guard the public purse; to this end he said, he would stamp out corruption, a cancer that is so pervasive that it is fiendishly difficult to eliminate altogether.

So, I wish Mr. Addo lots of luck. Ghanaians will be solidly behind him in this fight. On the campaign trail Mr. Addo won the hearts and minds of Ghanaians with his promise to be a different political animal with a new style of leadership.

We shall see. Our patience can only hold out for so long.





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