Former president of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and currently the president of the Volta Development Forum (VDF), Dr Prince Kofi Kludjeson, has called on the government to constitute a national forum made up top businessmen who may have lost their investments one way or the other to come on board to help in putting Ghana’s economy back on its feet.
Speaking at a Joy News programme, AM Show, the president of the VDF underscored the need for those managing the country’s economy to appreciate that they can’t do it all by themselves if they do not get others involved, particularly private sector players.
Speaking on the industrialisation agenda of the government, he said the idea to industrialise is a fantastic one, but one that needed serious inter- sectorial involvement from both government and the private sector which can easily mobilise resources backed by technology to make things happen.
In that case, Dr Kludjeson said stakeholders must engage to assess each other’s weaknesses to avoid a situation where there will be an overlapping of responsibilities and functions.
Ghana, he said, must own it’s home-grown industrial policy with buy in clauses that will put Ghanaians as the heads of these industries but while doing so, government must assist the private sector with some tax cut programmes that target only Ghanaian companies.
Among some of the pertinent issues Dr Kludjeson touched on was the manner in which some businesses were collapsed under the current government’s drive to clean the country’s investment space, particularly the financial sector clean-up which, he noted, ended up costing the tax payer so much though government said otherwise.
In his estimation, such an exercise could have been handled differently if the right people were consulted.
Nevertheless, the former AGI president wants President Nana Akufo-Addo to invite such businessmen, dialogue and come up with strategies in salvaging the current economic challenges confronting the country.
Dr Kludjeson believes that there’s nothing wrong if governments present and future one day decide on a policy to grow the next generation of home grown billionaires which he says the Nigerians have successfully done in less than three decades.
In his estimation such next generations’ home grown investors would be better suited to profess solution to the country’s social, economic and to some extent political problems.
Singling out such businessmen as Dr Kwesi Nduom and Prince Amoabeng and others, Dr Kludjeson said, these are Ghanaians who better understand the local ecosystem of the country’s economy and as such they must be encouraged to come back and get their licenses renewed for business to commence.
Dr Kludjeson also noted that as a businessman himself one of the things he would want government to pursue is the introduction of a new law that would make it mandatory for Ghanaians to owe thirty percent equity in every investment that comes into the country.
He believes that, if Ghanaians are made to owe thirty percent equity in every business in Ghana, it would help in curbing easy capital flight as has been the case for the last three decades.
He also wants as a measure that all foreign investments entities operating in the country be made to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange. This would also help in the stabilisation of the cedi against some major trading currencies in the country.
One major concern Dr Kludjeson raised was how Ghanaians are fast losing trust in the political class of the country.
He wasn’t particularly pleased with the two major political parties, the NDC and NPP. He said they have failed to put the country first.
He says in these times of crisis, the two political parties should be seen discussing solutions and not who has a superior political achievement.
The former AGI president, meanwhile, says he remains optimistic that, given the right atmosphere, the Ghanaian businessman has the ability to fix the current economic situation in the country.
In the last few months, the country’ economy has been under so much with many calling for the head of the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta and the dissolution and reconstitution of the economic management team led by the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
In a bid to assuage the anger within both the country and his own party, President Akufo-Addo addressed the nation while admitting “we are in a crisis” but hoped an expected IMF bailout in some form could be reached before the end of the year.
In that same address, the president appealed to Ghanaians not to talk down the cedi which has taken a severe beating from the dollar.