In a candid and impassioned address at the 9th Ghana CEO Network Business Cocktail, John Dramani Mahama, the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), outlined his ambitious “Mahama 24-hour economy” policy, addressing critical issues and proposing comprehensive measures to revitalize Ghana’s struggling economy.
Opening the evening with gratitude for the opportunity to engage with business leaders, Mahama set the tone by acknowledging the shared experiences of navigating Ghana’s economic challenges since 2018. He emphasized the resilience of the business community as a “successful global case study” despite the hardships faced.
The former President expressed concerns over the undue pressure on businesses, quoting a distressed CEO’s plea to halt the “needless harassment” from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), citing back-dated tax audits and assessments affecting businesses.
Painting a grim picture of the current economic state, Mahama highlighted the challenges faced by businesses, including closures, job losses, and the exodus of companies to neighbouring countries. He criticized the government’s handling of the economy, noting delays in receiving the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility and the negative consequences of a debt default.
Mahama stressed the real impact of the economic crisis on Ghanaians, including the high cost of living, unemployment, and business confidence hitting record lows. He linked these issues to government policies, including excessive borrowing and reliance on short-term treasury markets, leading to a decline in private sector credit.
Transitioning to his proposed solutions, Mahama presented a multi-faceted approach, starting with stringent fiscal discipline, cutting government expenditure, and streamlining agencies. He underscored the need for prudent financial management, emphasizing that “there is no substitute for prudent financial management.”
The highlight of the evening was Mahama’s unveiling of the “Mahama 24-hour economy” policy, envisioned as a transformative strategy to create jobs and boost economic activity. He assured stakeholders that the NDC government, if elected, would implement transition measures from January 7, 2025, to address the economic decline.
Outlining specific components of the 24-hour economy plan, Mahama proposed a combination of government support and private sector involvement, comprehensive policy frameworks, legislation to support 24/7 operations, favorable tax policies, and financing support for strategic sectors.
Addressing concerns raised by business leaders, Mahama pledged to create a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive, promising to reduce government interference and foster healthy competition. He also committed to fighting corruption and reviewing laws governing the extractive industry to increase local participation.
In closing, Mahama expressed optimism about the impact of the 24-hour economy initiative on job creation, economic growth, and the overall well-being of Ghanaians. He called for continued collaboration with CEOs and stakeholders, vowing to work together to build the Ghana everyone aspires to.
As the night concluded, Mahama wished everyone a Merry Christmas and left the audience with a sense of hope for change in the upcoming elections, emphasizing the importance of a stable macroeconomic environment for the survival of businesses.