Finance minister lays out agenda to improve business climate, spur economic growth


Finance minister lays out agenda to improve business climate, spur economic growth

Minister of Finance Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam has outlined a series of initiatives aimed at making the economy a preferred investment destination

At the inauguration of the Ghana Mutual Prosperity Partnership Steering Committee in Accra, the Finance Minister made a frank assessment of the country’s business environment while indicating government’s eager efforts to improve the business climate.

“Despite our recent challenges, I remain confident that Ghana is one of the best destinations on the continent for the private sector to do business and thrive,” Dr. Amin Adam stated.

However, he acknowledged that significant work remains to improve conditions for businesses operating in the country.

“Everywhere I have gone since I became Minister of Finance, issues relating to the business climate have been mentioned,” the Finance Minister said, adding: “When I went to Paris recently, every minister I met there talked about the business climate in Ghana”.

The Finance Minister highlighted some of the key grievances he has heard from foreign diplomats and the domestic private sector, including “multiplicity of taxes, irregularities in investment contracts, prolonged delays in government agency decision-making as well as a lack of harmonisation in the business and regulatory environment”.

In his remarks, Dr. Amin Adam made it clear that the Akufo-Addo Administration is taking steps to address these long-standing issues. “Government has not been sleeping over these concerns,” he asserted. “We have moved very fast to start initiatives toward addressing some of these challenges.”

As examples, he pointed to the President’s new committee to reform the exemptions regime, efforts by the Ghana Revenue Authority to become more business-friendly and his own visit to the Tema Port to explore streamlining processes there.

“I was shocked about the number of steps people have to go through,” Dr. Amin Adam said of the port procedures. “I want to give my personal commitment to addressing this, with the view to harmonising all those steps into a one-stop shop for people who do business at the port.”

The minister emphasised that improving the environment for domestic investors is just as crucial as attracting foreign direct investment.

“Until [foreign investors] arrive, let’s make the environment better and better for those who are currently operating in this environment,” he added.

To that end, Dr. Amin Adam announced plans to convene a “Ghana Development Forum” in May to bring together all stakeholders and forge a consensus around government policies and economic priorities beyond the 2024 elections.

“Do we have that understanding that beyond the election, the policies we are committed to under the [IMF] programme will continue to be implemented?” he asked.

“We are not going to see major policy shifts even when the election is over, because we have to work within a framework that we have signed on to,” he stated.

Dr. Amin Adam also revealed two new funds in the works – a Mineral Development Bank to provide financing to the mining sector and an SME Growth and Opportunity Fund, reflecting the importance of small and medium businesses which make up 80 percent of the economy.

“There is no country, whether the United States, Germany or Japan, that has grown without SMEs. I have indicated that is my focus going forward – how do we make access to finance easy for them, create markets for them and ensure the regulatory challenges they face are addressed?”

In an optimistic tone, Dr. Amin Adam cited economic bright spots like 2023’s 2.9 percent GDP growth, improved inflation and banking sector metrics and US$649million in foreign direct investment despite recent macro challenges.

“We are certainly moving in the right direction, but we have much more to do,” he stated, charging the steering committee to produce a set of actionable recommendations to accelerate reforms and transform “the golden age of business” in the country.


GNBCC | News