The government will put the private sector at the centre stage of the country’s development agenda to make the “Ghana Beyond Aid” vision a reality, Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister for Trade and Industry has said.
He said it was envisaged that the private sector could play that pivotal role in mobilising capital to accelerate economic growth and development in the country without having to look elsewhere.
Mr Kyerematen made these known at the maiden Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) stakeholder engagement meeting in Accra on Tuesday, organised by the ministry in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Business Development.
The objective of the dialogue with the private sector was to make the government aware of issues affecting their operations in order to input them into the 2020 budget statement and economic policy.
As part of the event, there was a presentation from the Ministry of Finance on the economy and the preparation of the 2020 budget to the participants from the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Employers Association, Association of Small Scale Industries and the Private Enterprises Federation (PEF) among others.
At the end of the dialogue session, some of the recommendations and proposals based on consensus- building included the need for the government to stabilise the micro-economic gains and reduce interest rate by harmonising and re-aligning the single digit inflation figure with policy rates.
There were also calls for the government to ensure relative stability of the exchange rate, a reduction in energy cost with a price differentiation between industry and domestic consumers with the former paying less for energy while others ask for liquidity support for industries, especially for medium and long term projects.
Participants also proposed the need for the government to discuss major policy initiatives with major stakeholders before such policies were made public, while ensuring that the corporate tax regime differentiate between small and large business entities in the administration of the tax regime.
Another consensus was built on the premise that the government’s intervention in the banking sector should correspond with efforts in mobilising foreign exchange reserves while others asked government to increase public procurement of local entrepreneurs goods and services from the 30 per cent to 70 per cent in order to boost local economy.
Closing the session after all the deliberations, Mr Kyerematen said the objective was to ensure that a more analytical insight of the country’s economic situation could be seen from different perspectives for an informed decision-making based on facts and evidence-oriented indicators.
He said the intensity and diversity of such a programme warranted coordinated efforts such that a PPD coordinating committee would be inaugurated very soon, adding that plans were far advance for the president to host an Annual Business Summit which would culminate into Ghana Business Compact to give clear indications for economic policies and key performance indicators.
BY LAWRENCE MARKWEI