African governments should allocate 10 percent of Pension Funds to support the private sector especially entrepreneurs, Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has suggested.
He said African governments were still following the model being used by the developed countries in administering Pension Funds, which made it difficult for the private sector to access such funds.
Mr Elemelu, who is also the Chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation, who disclosed this during a seminar for some business students of the University of Ghana in Accra, explained that the model being used by the African governments, which they borrowed from their developed economies, did not engender private sector growth.
Mr Elumelu, who is an Economist, Entrepreneur, Investor and Philanthropist and holds several investment portfolio in Africa in the areas of banking, energy and oil sectors, was on a two-day working visit to Ghana also interacted with young entrepreneurs and some businessmen in the country.
Mr Elumelu opined that Africa would derive a lot of benefits if portions of Pension Funds were channeled to support private sector business initiatives.
He said a section of the public argue that allocating part of pension funds to finance projects in the private sector was a risky venture, but said the gains African countries would derive from investing part of the Pension Funds in the private sector businesses, would outweigh the perceived risk .
Mr Elumelu said Africa must channeled AID from developed countries into investment because if Africa had invested the AID received by their developed partners in the private sector the returns would have been great, saying AID should not “crowd out private sector initiatives.”
The Chairman of the UBA Plc called on the president and policy makers in Ghana to initiate policies to make the business environment more conducive for the private sector, and applauded the government for the numerous tax cuts to support the private sector.
He also stressed that the government must support the Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) sector to grow, saying “When the private sector or entrepreneurs succeed the individuals in the society also succeed.”
Mr Elumelu said the private sector and especially SMEs across the world were responsible for growth and job creation, saying “it is SMEs which create jobs and not government.”
The Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation advised the youth to strive to create their own businesses and not wait on government for jobs.
He said youth today, stood a better chance to create their own jobs because of the availability of capital and the advent of the Internet, which made it easy to access information from the World Wide Web in real time.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu said his outfit was proud to be associated with the programme.
He lauded Mr Elumelu for his efforts in creating jobs and building young entrepreneurs, saying Mr Elumelu “is making a unique mark” through his philanthropy.
By Kingsley Asare