President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the government intends to shift the national fight against corruption from rhetorics to an action-based phase to end the menace with the urgency it demands.
He said as President, he was not naïve about the enormity of the problem and how it continued to undermine national development and, therefore, would not sing the chorus of the problem without addressing it.
In a speech delivered on his behalf at the 2017 edition of the Ghana Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Summit in Accra on Monday, Nana Akufo-Addo said the scale and level of “tolerated corruption” under the Fourth Republic and especially in recent times needed to be arrested immediately.
The two-day summit, which is the biggest gathering of business leaders in the country, is on the theme: “Digital innovation economy for business growth.”
“My administration believes that the fight against corruption must move into its new phase – a phase characterised by action, not words, and one inspired by the collective desire of our people to see a deadly but enduring practice ending,” he said.
The President submitted that his administration was focused on tackling the menace because it had established that no country in the world had attained economic development in an atmosphere characterised by corruption, nepotism, incompetence, disinvestment in agriculture, distorted aid programmes, high politics and national fragmentation.
He was of the opinion that corruption heightened the cost of doing business and the resulting transaction cost could deter both local and international investors.
Initiatives for action-based fight
President Akufo-Addo said initiatives to facilitate an action-based fight against corruption included the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor by the close of the next session of Parliament, during which the law to establish that office would be passed.
The move, according to him, was intended to "separate politics from criminal investigations” and allow the law to deal with anyone found culpable of corruption, irrespective of political affiliations.
He said efforts would be made to ensure inclusiveness in the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to ensure it was devoid of politics.
Corruption Reporting Centre
The President also disclosed plans to establish a business reporting bureau at the Presidency where the corrupt activities of state officials would be reported for action to be taken.
“I will establish a business reporting bureau where the corrupt activities of staff and officers of state-owned enterprises, regulatory institutions, revenue agencies and the public and civil services will be reported,” he declared.
The establishment of the bureau, he said, would leverage active support from the private sector in the fight against corruption.
To ensure that action was taken against persons reported and heads of institutions held accountable, the President said, he would order the quarterly publication of all complaints received and steps that had been taken in respect of persons involved.
Nana Akufo-Addo said his office was open to suggestions from the business community with regard to the establishment of the business reporting bureau to uproot corruption.
“I encourage ideas on making this proposal more feasible and effective being submitted to my office through an avenue to be announced by the middle of June, latest by July,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo highlighted the importance of corruption-free institutions towards enhancing the survival of businesses and also boosting investment.
"We need to fight corruption collectively and the joint efforts of the captains of business will be most welcome. We need all hands on deck to fight corruption,” he added.
Systems must work
He said his administration believed that the private sector was a major tool to enhance national development and, therefore, the government would focus on creating the enabling environment for the sector to thrive.
That enabling environment, he said, included good governance that would allow the national system to work effectively, so that businesses would have a level playing field to thrive, instead of thriving based on political or state institutional connections.
In his remarks, the Founder of the Ghana CEOs Network, Mr Ernest De-Graft Egyir, underscored the need for Ghanaian businesses to adopt digital technologies to remain relevant in the contemporary global business world.
“The digital economy is developing rapidly worldwide. It is the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth, holding huge potential. But, unfortunately, most CEOs are yet to exploit this gold mine,” he said.
He was of the opinion that the public sector could not develop or exist without the private sector, while an inefficient public sector would stunt the growth of the private sector.
Mr De-Graft Egyir, therefore, called on the government to engage relevant stakeholders in a critical analysis and privatise state-owned enterprises (SOEs), adding: “The prospective benefits of the privatisation of SOEs will inure to all stakeholders.”
Source: Daily Graphic
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