A Thriving Private Sector: The Key to Sustainable Socio-Economic Growth

17-08-2018

A Thriving Private Sector: The Key to Sustainable Socio-Economic Growth

On Wednesday, 15th August 2018, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) hosted a policy round table on the theme “A Thriving Private Sector: The Key to Sustainable Socio-Economic Growth”. The speaker was Dr William Brafu-Insaidoo, a research fellow at the IEA.

Dr Brafu-Insaidoo presented on the topic “Addressing Business Constraints in Ghana: A Tool for Job Creation”. This presentation was grounded in research commissioned by the IEA, with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, with the aim of investigating the main constraints facing businesses in Ghana, and the factors that limit growth and development of the private sector. The findings were to be brought to the attention of policy makers with the hope that pragmatic policies would be formulated to address concerns of the business community and enable private sector growth.

The round table was chaired by Dr Eric Osei-Assibey, a senior research fellow at the Institute.

Dr Brafu-Insaidoo began his presentation with an overview of the business environment in Ghana, outlining factors that both promote and inhibit businesses with regard to the policy and regulatory environment, the macro-economic environment, infrastructure and other environmental indicators. He then went on to outline the various constraints that the private sector face in the country such as limited access to long-term credit, limited technical, managerial and entrepreneurial skills in micro and small enterprises (MSEs), high cost of materials, and macroeconomic issues such as unstable exchange rate movement, multiplicity of taxes and high lending rates.

A number of recommendations were made by Dr Brafu-Insaidoo toward addressing these challenges. With regard to enabling businesses to access long-term financing, Dr Insaidoo encouraged the government to lead in the formulation and implementation of a coherent policy to increase access. The business community should also be educated on long term financing, and business owners should be given the needed managerial and technical support. With regard to closing the infrastructure gap, he stressed the urgent need to pass the 2016 Public-Private Partnership (PPP) bill to improve the sourcing of funds from the private sector for public development, and to encourage collaboration between the private sector and the government. The key to dealing with the problem of limited managerial, technical and entrepreneurial skill lies in formal education: developing curricula that emphasize and foster these skills, and creating ancillary programs to foster the culture of entrepreneurship in students. Finally, Dr Insaidoo remarked on the need to create and enforce measures to ensure long-term stability in the macroeconomic environment.

After the presentation, a thoughtful and engaging discussion took place among the participants, during which a number of observations and recommendations were made regarding the state of the business environment in Ghana and how to address the challenges faced within it. A common refrain among participants was the need for government to prioritize public investment, to focus on investing in competitive infrastructure that would help businesses thrive. Other key factors stated were increasing access to credit, creating competitive and comparative products, and the need for both the government and the private sector to invest in research, development and innovation. The discussion concluded on the remark that the way forward is to foster “synergy” between the private sector and government, creating more avenues for dialogue and solution-building, in order to adequately address concerns of the private sector and engineer its growth.

The round table brought together stakeholders from the business community, financial institutions, business community regulators, the diplomatic corps and academia. Among the attendees were Professor Martin Tuuli, Dean of the GIMPA Business School, Mr Nii Aryi Aryeetey, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Mr Errol Graham, Lead Economist at the World Bank, Mr Joe Mensah, Country Director of Kosmos Energy and Mr Nicolas Gebara, Fund Manager of BUSAC.

 

Source: http://ieagh.org/iea-event/iea-hosts-policy-round-table-discussion-on-business-environment-and-constraints-in-ghana/

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