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The Government of Ghana is taking measures to address the challenges posed by the increase in public expenditure that characterizes election years, to avoid the heavy toll on business and the financing of public projects,Vice President Paa Kwes Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has said.
Part of the measures, he said, would be to invite the private sector, which forms a huge part of actors in the Ghanaian economy, to discuss with Government expenditure proposals, so as to reduce the cost of doing business in Ghana.
The Vice President made these observations on Wednesday at a breakfast meeting with the executives of the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), at Flagstaff House in Accra to discuss pertinent issues of the Ghanaian economy.
The meeting was attended by major leaders of business in Ghana and sector Ministers of Trade and Industry, Energy and Petroleum and Employment and Labour Relations among others.
Issues on the effects of bureaucracy, high interest rates and crowding out the private sector, the upward adjustment of the price of petroleum products, the traffic situation and a moderation in the public sector wage settlement had come up in earlier discussions.
There were also deliberations on power and water tariffs.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur stressed the need for a public-private collaboration to make doing business in Ghana more attractive.
“We have to team up to remove these bottlenecks,” the Vice President said.
According to him, some people said the nine per cent proposal to address the fiscal imbalance in 2012 was too moderate, but he warned of dire consequences if the figure was raised, hence the attempt to ensure a balance with slightly larger period.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur said the Government was committed to ensuring macro-economic stability, and declared the intention of Government to moderate interest rates to prevent the denial of access to credit.
“We are looking at the share of Government expenditure… We have to take some decisions to expand infrastructure. That is why we are inviting the private sector. We need our banks too. In the past Government was a major provider, but it is not able to invest in the economy as in earlier levels. There is also the growth in the internal debt. The private sector must be available”, Vice President Amissah-Arthur said.
Mr Asare Akufo, President of PEF, observed that such regular meetings would deepen the relations between the private sector and the Government.
He called for growth in the economy to be matched with investment in infrastructure, social and economic stability and job creation.
Nana Owusu Afari, President of the AGI called for more effective measures to check the dumping of foreign goods on the Ghanaian market to protect local industries, and maintain the quality of both local and imported goods.
He said the Ghanaian business climate appeared to be too liberal, and suggested that registered businesses should belong to business organizations and go by the business laws of the nation.
Apart from identification, businesses must make their operations very clear and be easily located, Nana Afari said.