President allays business community’s fears of electoral violence

President Mahama in a pose with the business leaders after their meeting. Photo; Vincent DzatsePresident John Mahama has asked investors and the private sector business operators not to harbour any fears about the impending general election, “There is nothing to worry about because the elections would be held peacefully and smoothly,” he assured.

Although elections create uncertainty among the business community, he said “nothing will happen,” and urged the players to continue investing in the country.

“I will play my part as president and Commander- In- Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure a stable and secure environment that will protect your investments,” he stated at a breakfast meeting with business chief executive officers in Accra yesterday.

Organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the meeting offered the platform for interaction between the President and the business leaders, during which President Mahama explained the various economic measures and plans for the next four years.

Touching on the economic management interventions by the government over the past four years, he noted that all the measures were difficult decisions taken in the interest of the private sector, but were now bearing fruits.

He cited the deregulation of the petroleum pricing, removal of petroleum subsidy, import substitution policy, inflation targeting, interest rate management, stabilisation of the local currency borrowing and intense investment infrastructure as some of the measures that continued to inure to the benefit of the private sector.

President Mahama said although the ongoing global economic recession continued to affect most countries, Ghana’s economy had been recording growth due to its resilience and development out of the macro-economic stability reforms the government implemented.

With regard to inflation, he was optimistic that the year would end with an inflation of about 14 per cent, which he projected to further decline to single digit next year.

He called for a stakeholders’ debate on the management of interest rates for the central bank, private banks and companies to find a common ground on the setting of interest rates that would favour all sectors of the economy.

Touching on measures to reduce government’s domestic borrowing, he said the government has rolled out a public debt management strategy that was guarding against domestic borrowing to avoid crowding out the private sector.

On foreign borrowing, he said, efforts were underway to reduce borrowing on the international market, but noted that more prioritised infrastructure works would be pursued.

President Mahama urged the large bank to increase lending to the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector, adding that the sector needed more financial assistance to expand their operations to support the economy.

With regard to power generation, President Mahama said the power crisis has been effectively resolved with the generation of additional 850 megawatts in the last 18months, describing it as the swiftest fast-tracked power generation in the country.

As a result of the increased generation, he said Ghana faced an over-generation challenge because the excess power would go to waste if not utilised.

In that regard, he said the government would continue to export to neigbouring countries, but noted that excess power was still too much for Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Burkina Faso, who consume less.

The only option, he said, was to convince Nigeria to buy some of the power and more industries to open up in Ghana to consume the power.

He, therefore, urged manufacturing firms to expand their operations and open new factories in the regions since they can be assured of reliable power supply.

President Mahama commended the business community for the cooperation and support during the difficult times, and assured them that the economic prospects are very bright.

“We will do everything possible to sustain the gains and improve on the economy,” he assured.

 

By Edmund Mingle

 

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