The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has outlined three major strategies to formalize Ghana’s economy.
Giving his keynote address at the maiden national policy summit held at the Accra International Conference Centre, Monday, the Vice President said a formalized economy represents the single most important transformation of the economy of any country.
Providing details of the strategies geared towards formalizing the economy, Dr Bawumia listed plans by the government to issue national ID cards; provide digital addresses for all residences, and to ensure an interoperability of the telecom and financial sectors of the economy.
These three major strategies which he contends will “change the dynamics of the economy,” are all expected to be completed by close of the year.
Plans by government to formalize the economy began several years ago with the introduction of the National Identification System in 2008.
However, attempts to issue national ID cards have failed despite several millions of cedis having been sunk into the project.
Reports said at least ?21 million was spent on the mass registration and card distribution exercises. It was meant to provide a single biometric data for all citizens and non-citizens living in the country.
Despite that investment, state institutions including the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Passport Office and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department have all spent millions on their own biometric data capture, a complete duplication and a waste of the country’s scarce resources.
Currently, only about 900,000 people, out of the 15 million whose data was collected in the last national registration exercise, have been issued with their national ID cards.
Of the 15 million people whose data were collected, only 9 million were captured in the database, with only 4.5 million being completed and 2.7 million national identity cards printed.
The vice president said a comprehensive data system will be complete by close of the year.
“With the national ID system, everybody must be uniquely identified; every developed economy has unique ID for everybody,” he said, adding by August or September a national ID card will be completed and distributed to all Ghanaians.
He said the digital address system will be completed in the two months as a precursor for the National ID system.
He also promised that the interoperability system will be completed in November 2017.
Ghana has a notorious record for its poor macro-economic stability especially in election years with inflation, interest rates skyrocketing, exchange rate depreciating and growth rate shrinking with unsustainable budget deficits.
The Vice president said the objective of the government is to maintain and sustain macro-economic stability.
He said the practice where the country will move “two steps forward and four steps backward” will not continue under the Akufo-Addo presidency.
This country has never had a long period of sustained macro-economic stability with “inflation sustainably low and the currency sustainably stable,” he asserted.
“The whole element of fiscal discipline is so key,” he said, adding, “if that is not taken seriously the whole economy will crumble.”
Friendly Business Environment
The Vice president said Ghana is aiming to become the most business friendly country in Africa to provide the opportunity for the private sector to create more jobs for the country’s youth.
He cited the 2017 budget read in March as a testimony of government’s preparedness to walk the talk.
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