Private sector to keep gov’t on its toes

Unimpressed with the half-hearted execution of government policies, especially those that relate to their sector, industrialists have instituted measures to do their own tracking of policies.

Akin to a traffic-light situation, various promises made by government to the private sector are going to be put under red, amber and green colours over their implementation periods, depending on whether they are at a standstill, on-going or completed.

A template has been developed to catalogue the policies and track their implementation from start to finish.

“If the policies are well-implemented, we will clap our hands, and if they are not we will ask questions from the implementing agencies,” said Seth Twum Akwaboah, CEO of the Association of Ghana Industries, initiator of the policy-monitoring project.

The project is in collaboration with the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, the Ghana Employers Association and the Private Enterprise Federation, and is backed by the Busac Fund.

“We consider monitoring implementation of government policies a cross-cutting issue, and therefore the entire private sector has shown interest and will play our respective roles,” President of the AGI, James Asare-Adjei, said at a workshop in Accra that discussed Ghana’s competitiveness.

“The private sector has not been enthused with the implementation of policies such as the Private Sector Strategy II and the Industrial Policy,” the AGI President said. “What really went wrong? Is it that the policies were not well developed? Is it that the strategies that were not well understood? Is it the funding that was not made available? What is it?”

In the 2014 budget, government promised to undertake a number of measures to facilitate industrialisation — including development of industrial parks throughout the country, revival of the Komenda Sugar Factory, establishment of the Ghana Infrastructure Fund, and an SME fund.

The budget statement also mentions a “stimulus package” for selected companies in the pharmaceutical, rice and poultry sectors.

While President Mahama cut the sod in August for revival of the Komenda Sugar Factory, a good number of the policies are yet to be implemented.

According to the AGI president, the private sector is prepared to partner government in the implementation of various policies, especially those that relate to industrialisation.

“Results of the monitoring activity will be shared with government, and will serve as inputs for enhancing the systems adopted for policy implementation. The results of this will be mutually beneficial for the government and the private sector, by creating a robust economy.”

A representative of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Alex Mensah, told the industrialists that their concerns have been noted, and assured that they will be addressed.

“This year we are finalising the implementation procedure to kick-start implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy II. So it will definitely be implemented.”

He also said a pilot scheme for the SME Fund will be rolled-out “soon” to mobilise and deploy about GH?50million from sources such as EDAIF and new loans and grants.

“The fund will have formal links with institutions such as Exim Guarantee and the Venture Capital Fund, as well as rural and micro finance.”

Source : B&FT

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