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The president of the Republic of Ghana, H.E John Evans Attah Mills has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to ensure an investor friendly environment for all investors in the country.

He however warned that only law abiding investors would be accommodated.

“Let me caution that while we want to encourage investments in our country, anyone who invests in this country, be the person domestic or foreign investor must respect our laws… we are not going to bend the rules for anybody, neither are we going to harass anybody,” he cautioned.

The President sounded the caution when he addressed The Economist Conference’s Second Business Roundtable with the Government of Ghana, in Accra yesterday.

The conference brought together over 140 senior government members and executives from international and regional corporations, to discuss the way forward for Ghana, in the current economic climate.

President Mills pledged that his government would give the necessary incentive and address all cumbersome tax procedures that have long been a concern of most investors and businesses in the country.

He hinted that the Ministry of Finance has been directed to review the regime of tax exemptions and incentive, with the idea to strike a fair tax system for both businesses and households.

On issues concerning the true nature of the Ghanaian economy, prior to his assumption of office. The President reiterated that contrary to claims that the Ghanaian economy was robust, recent findings at the various Ministries and departments call for a rewrite of the country’s real fiscal deficits.

He noted that his recent tour of some Municipal and District Assemblies in the country has compelled him to order an audit into the huge arrears wowed to contractors and other service providers.
“With the huge discoveries of arrears which have been made, the budget deficit was likely to exceed 20%. We may split heads over whether the budget deficit was 11% or 15%, depending on whether one wants to include the huge divestiture receipts”, he argued.

To this effect, the President said it was important for his government to gather data and evaluate them before any decision with respect to government business is taken. This measure, he said, has been misinterpreted to mean that his government was anti-business.

He noted that government was committed to fiscal prudence “because we believe that without economic stability, the promotion of private sector growth cannot be achieved”.

He recalled that in April this year, he signed a memorandum of understanding with Association of Ghana Industries, with the purpose to form a partnership to develop the private sector, and together launch an industrial policy with specific emphasis on small medium enterprises.

“What I want to assure you is that we recognize that the private sector participation is the only way we would be able to achieve our economic vision.” He said.

Mr. Nabil Habayeb, President and Chief Executive Officer, Middle East and Africa, General Electric (GE), in an interview with the paper noted that Ghana has been endowed with a lot of natural resources such as gold, cocoa and recently oil and gas, which is attracting a lot of investments.

He note that it was important to effectively monitor these resources to address pressing social needs, whiles building upon existing infrastructure and to diversify the economy into new industries.
The GE group, he said, has an integrated expertise in diverse fields, such as water reuse technology, healthcare, transportation and the oil and gas industry, to complement government’s efforts at developing these social needs.

“We are a company that has the financial services that can help put structures in place and to structure projects and initiatives to monetize the natural resources to match what Ghana wants and what we at GE can offer.”

Nick Mesquita, group sales Director of the Economist Group, organizers of the conference told The Chronicle that considering the quality of delegates present at the conference and the responses gathered after the first session, it was most likely that a third of the event would be re-run next year.

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