Business

Andani on Graphic Business Forum

The Managing Director of Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited, Mr Alhassan Andani, has asked the government to incorporate its agenda for growth and jobs into a single policy document that will clearly specify the cost of implementation, the funding gap that exists and how the private sector can help to realise such a goal.

He told the Daily Graphic in Accra that beyond serving as a guideline in the implementation process, a policy document on the government’s plans to rein in the deficit and boost growth to create jobs will help to align its development expectations with its political aspirations.

It will also serve as a reference point for investors, including financial institutions, in determining how much capital they can deploy to which sectors of the economy and the incentives thereof.

Speaking to the paper ahead of the GRAPHIC BUSINESS-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting on stability, growth and jobs, the Stanbic Bank MD said until that orderly development agenda was made available, the private sector would continue to work with “the intentions and snippets of talk” that have been sparsely discussed in the media by some government officials.

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“As things stand now, it is very much like a puzzle, and this puzzle for development has been scrambled. If you put it all together, it makes perfect sense and it shows you in concrete sense what is to be done,” Mr Andani, who is also the president of the umbrella body of banks in the country, the Ghana Association of Bankers, said.

“But at the moment, part of that puzzle is held at the Ministries of Finance, Food and Agriculture, Trade and Industry and even in the hands of the private sector but the square area where you have to assemble it is somewhere else.”

“So, who is holding which piece and how do we unlock it?” he asked.

Agenda setting

The GRAPHIC BUSINESS-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting, which is the first in the series for the year, comes off tomorrow February 14 at the plush Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra, where policy makers and investors will converge to deliberate on how the public and private sector can collaborate to ensure economic stability, growth and job creation.

It will be on the theme: ‘A public private dialogue on stability, growth and jobs.’

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Instituted a few years back, the GRAPHIC BUSINESS-Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting series has become an agenda-setting event, where critical issues affecting the economy are discussed and the suggestions by experts and discussants ending up as building blocks in the formulation of policies.

In addition to Mr Andani and some government officials, the meeting will have speakers from captains of industry and academia, including the President of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), Nana Osei Bonsu, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, and Dr John Kwakye, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a policy think tank.

Expectations

As a new government still preparing its first budget for this year, the meeting will be an opportune platform to gauge the mood of the private sector and collate ideas on how the government can actualise its professed plans to ensure macroeconomic stability, promote the private sector for growth and in the process, create jobs for the teeming youth.

While the government’s intentions were apt, Mr Andani said the lack of a detailed plan or orderly development agenda could make it difficult for private businesses to know where and how to support.

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“Everybody can say what they want to say about growth and stability but do we have a big metric that says that this is what government wants to do for expansion and to achieve that these are the various areas and this is how much it will cost?” he asked.

“Nobody has actually come out with that kind of paper and that is what we expect to put out at this meeting,” he said in reference to the February 14 dialogue.

Given that public funds alone will not be enough to fund the government’s growth agenda, the Stanbic Bank MD said a policy document on the government’s agenda would serve as a point of attraction for local and foreign investors to bring in capital to support.

“For us, we hope that this public private dialogue on stability, growth and jobs will help tease out those issues and get government to be thinking and working in that direction,” he said.

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Eric P

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