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Presidential aspirant reveals 10 things he would’ve done differently in 2020 budget

Source Marricke Kofi Gane

Independent Presidential aspirant, Mr Marricke Kofi Gane, has taken to social media to diagnose the ills of the 2020 budget presented last Wednesday by the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, and offered some antidotes.

Here are 10 things the Managing Consultant would have done differently.

1) Rather than Institute training schemes for Entrepreneurs exclusively outside the educational cycle, we should also consider incorporating it into the educational cycle, spread over the stages. The advantages – entrepreneur mindsets get internalised early and makes it easier to appreciate entrepreneurship alongside technical subject focus.

2) On African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we shouldn’t only be dialoguing with private sector to find the way forward. In my view, we already have embassies in 80 per cent of these AfCFTA countries. We should by now have paid for and produced a very detailed database of all potential export items from Ghana, and which AfCFTA countries have the biggest potential corresponding markets for them, their national trade entry protocols, national fairs and contacts, best country specific distributing channels – and these and other AfCFTA country data should be reaching related companies in Ghana by now. We should be forming a curriculum around this by now also.

3) To grow foreign direct investment (FDI), we should resource the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and set up an inter-ministerial committee for a policy drive. The centre is a trade marketer and facilitator. If we don’t already have what FDIs want, GIPC cannot market it. FDI looks out for Quality of Labour (technical and competency). Sadly, we are not investing in people enough. We need apprenticeship schemes. FDIs also demand certainty of micro and macro financial planning for themselves and in this area – they know our corruption is permeating at micro and macro levels. We should focus on ruthlessly rooting it out. The one week, one scandal doesn’t engender confidence, neither does spending GH₡ 16 billion on financial sector clean-ups while nobody is hanged.

4) The government says “We aim to use digitisation to transform our development path, in line with global realities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” To me, that’s pure English and no concrete policy direction. The current government’s development path has been production-led and the well-used “fourth industrial revolution” is also driven by an emphasis on efficiency minimal labour use. Four industries largely drive Ghana’s economy – Oil, Agric, Industry and Services. Which of these is digitisation being directed at specifically? I would have loved to see us have a cogent plan to direct our digitisation drive at say Agriculture. Why? It will increase efficiency, reduce labour efforts and improve yields. If you asked me, digitisation is a necessity. What we really need for Leapfrogging is Innovation.

5) Government agenda is to set up a National Development Bank to support domestic enterprises’ access to capital. A laudable intention. But if this is largely just for access to capital, why can’t the likes of already existing ADB, National Investment Bank and Consolidated Bank of Ghana be upgraded to handle a special Government Guaranteed Capital scheme and save us an entirely new set of operational cost setting up a new bank.

6) MASLOC should be shut down. Over the years, it has been characterised by spending inefficiencies. Currently it gives out enterprise loans and makes recoveries of only 50 per cent and about 23 per cent under past governments while still spending taxpayer’s money on organizational administration. Special concession schemes for small enterprises could be channeled through the private sector with the advantage that these lending will be done with some commercial precision.

7) With the obviously 800,000 senior high school students on the brink of graduating from the second cycle of our educational system – its worrying to see that no major spending or policy coverage has been directed at the Next-Effect – pressure on our tertiary education system. We should have been planning for that since yesterday.

8) There are too many Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Small Business schemes (some legacy, some new) operating as silos. It’s hard to see any convergence in the outcomes expected from running them. Neither have we had any policy reviews to determine which ones have been successful and which ones failed. We should be considering a consolidation into one Nationally Efficient Enterprise Scheme run by top-brass venture-like brains to cover all things Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Funding.

9) It is a complete waste of human and financial resources, that we are having to separately carry out a National Identification Project, Digital Property Addressing Project and in 2020, an intended National Census Programme, all as individual Silo Projects – It would have been possible to carry out one consolidated exercise altogether aimed at building an integrated identification and census data in one go.

10) Many health statistics in the last two years have shown grave issues around low outpatients per capita of less than one (visits to doctor); Increases in death from cardiac related issues (which could reduce if the former increases); Health sector efficiency of just about 30 per cent ; Low National Health Insurance (NHIS) joining rates, especially among the least scheme-dependent population (healthy group); Quality healthcare access of just about 40 per cent….. and yet the section on health is hugely focused on building new infrastructure not focusing on service delivery. All the numbers show the vice versa should be the case.

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