General News of Friday, 6 September 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Let’s dialogue on campaign promises - Veep

The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has advocated a national dialogue on the promises made by politicians during electioneering.

In his opinion, some of the promises put a lot of strain on the national budget, citing the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) as an example.

The Vice-President was reacting to a concern raised by the President of the Ghana Employers Association (GEA), Mr Terence Darko, at the association’s annual general meeting (AGM) business luncheon in Accra yesterday.

Mr Darko had said at the luncheon that the new pay policy was a source of concern to the private sector, just as it was to the economy, because about 65 per cent of the national revenue was being spent on personnel emoluments.

The AGM was on the theme, “Consolidating Ghana’s Democracy as a catalyst for Enterprise Growth and Employment Creation”.

The GEA is an association of public and private businesses, with a membership of about 1,200.

SSPP

Mr Amissah-Arthur said people were drifting to the public sector because of the new policy, the result being that the government was spending a lot on the payment of salaries and emoluments, to the detriment of the development of social infrastructure.

Mr Darko, for his part said in spite of positive developments in the Ghanaian economy, private businesses continued to suffer many challenges, citing high lending rates, the depreciation of the cedi against major trading currencies and infrastructural bottlenecks.

Revise trade and investment policies

Earlier at the opening ceremony, Mr Darko said it had become imperative for the government to revise the country’s trade and investment policies, particularly the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with other countries to allow for the growth of local businesses.

“Ghana needs to critically re-examine its trade and investment policies, especially the EPA, as well as other protocols which have compelled us to open our markets to the influx of all kinds of goods and services, while dwindling the opportunities of local enterprises to sell their products locally, let alone export their products to other markets,” he stated.

Mr Darko said some of the greatest challenges facing local businesses were the issues of counterfeit goods and illicit trade, while the country’s liberal economic policies had also contributed to the counterfeit market, which had affected job creation and government’s ability to generate revenue, among others.

He announced that beginning next month, the GEA, with support from the BUSAC Fund, would step up its advocacy on counterfeit products to reverse the rather worrying trend.

Nii Armah Ashietey, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, who also addressed the session, told the GEA members that the government would count on their expertise and support to grow the economy.

He encouraged workers to upgrade themselves and sharpen their skills, so that they could help in nation building.

Currently, there is no accurate data to determine the country’s level of unemployment, and that, according to the minister, posed challenges with regard to planning.

He hinted that his ministry was going to set up a Labour Market Information System (LMIS) which would provide statistics on labour.