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Politics of Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

We will grow private sector - Four presidential candidates

Four presidential candidates contesting this year’s elections have indicated their resolve to make the private sector more effective to enable it to provide the needed stimulus for national development.

They said although the private sector was key to growth and development of the country, it had not been given the needed attention, and that when given the nod they would boost the sector through various interventions.

The interventions include the provision of long term loans with low interest rates, markets and entrepreneurial skills to members of the sector.

The four presidential candidates are Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Henry Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP); Akwasi Addai of the United Front Party (UFP) and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.

The four were left out in the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) presidential debate on the grounds that their political parties did not have representation in Parliament.

But the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in accordance with its constitutional mandate decided to give equal platform to political parties to present their programmes to the people and decided to organise the debate for the candidates at the GTV studios and broadcast live on national television and all the radio networks of GBC.

The candidates indicated that the private sector needed to be given all the support as part of efforts to address the unemployment problem.

Dr Nduom said under the PPP, the state should facilitate the buying of the products of the private sector since the sector had to be helped to grow.

He said the negative attitude towards local businesses needed to change if the private sector was to take its rightful place in the society.

The PPP, he said, would also provide the direction for the private sector to expand and grow.

Dr Lartey said most Ghanaians lacked access to capital because they lacked the needed collateral to obtain credit.

With the GCPP, he said, the private sector would be resourced adequately to be successful.

The sector, he said, once given the support it desired would expand and grow as well as employ more Ghanaians thereby helping to solve the unemployment problem.

For his part, Mr Addai said the UFP would empower the private sector to grow its businesses by providing it with long term capital for expansion and growth.

“We would make the private sector to be competitive on the global market. The time has come to rejuvenate the private sector and the UFP would do that,” he said.

He deplored the situation where foreigners came to Ghana, generate all the financial resources and then send those resources to their countries.

Mr Addai said there would also be technology transfer to support the private sector and promote public-private partnership.

Mr Yeboah said under his administration, the capacity of the private sector would be built so that it took advantage of the numerous opportunities that would be created by his government.

He identified the lack of finance as a major problem facing the sector and that his administration would provide the finance needed by the sector.

According to him, a national development plan that would indicate the direction of the country would be vigorously pursued to show clearly how the sector would be boosted.

He expressed the belief that the plan would help identify skill gaps in the informal sector and also lay out a comprehensive vision for the country.

Dr Nduom decried the negative attitude of successive governments towards the private sector saying that most businesses collapsed owing to the lack of commitment to ensuring their survival.

He cited the collapse of the national carrier, Ghana Airways and the subsequent collapse of Ghana International Airline as a demonstration of the government’s lack of vision to develop the private sector.

On the public sector, the PPP leader expressed his disgust at the negative actions of people who sabotaged each other by frustrating work efforts.

For him a PPP administration would introduce sanity into both the public and private sectors by ensuring a well motivated work-force through a conducive work environment.

Mr Lartey believed that empowering the Ghanaian with resources as well as giving start-up capital to market women was key to creating jobs in the informal sector.

Turning the spotlight on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) each of the presidential candidates pledged their commitment to ensuring that the scheme operated devoid of political interference.

Dr Nduom condemned what he described as the political football the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were engaged in regarding which of the two parties under their respective governments better managed the NHIS.

The presidential candidates were unanimous in their resolve to appoint managers to the scheme on the basis of competence unlike the current situation where the leadership of the NHIS is appointed on the basis of which political party was in power.

The UFP candidate was of the view that even though the concept of the NHIS was a good one, its implementation was rushed hence its current managerial difficulties.

On corruption, the candidates pledged to fight the canker which they noted had eaten into the moral fibre of the Ghanaian society.

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