Posted: Friday 16th May 2014 at 9:42 am

Forum adopts ‘Senchi consensus’

The three-day National Economic Forum ended at Senchi yesterday, with a call on the state to, as a matter of urgency, continue to execute projects and programmes commenced by previous governments.

The 22-point communiqué, dubbed the “Senchi Consensus”, said a long-term national interest superseded all other interests.

The participants underscored the need to foster a state whose day-to-day management was supported by a professionally competent Civil Service working in an environment devoid of political victimisation and intimidation and where support for the government was not interpreted as political affiliation. 

It tasked the government to take steps to galvanise consensus around other issues of national importance, especially with respect to political governance, and initiate a process of involving citizens whose experience, insight and expertise would enhance economic policy management and national governance.

The communiqué, which was read by the President of the Ashesi University, Dr Patrick Awuah, said the Directive Principles of State Policy (Chapter Six of the 1992 Constitution) must continue to guide the national development effort which should be anchored in a long-term national development framework with a compelling vision.  Revamp

It also called on the government to encourage and promote indigenous entrepreneurship and revamp the manufacturing and agricultural sectors to encourage the domestic production of some agricultural products.

The objective of the National Economic Forum was to promote dialogue towards achieving consensus on the policies, strategies and measures that would accelerate the transition of Ghana to a higher and sustainable path of development and improve the lives of Ghanaians.

It also explored the possibility of institutionalising a regular consultative machinery to promote dialogue between the public sector and the social partners in order to develop national consensus on some of the critical economic policy issues confronting the country.

The participants recommended the institutionalisation of the National Economic Forum and the establishment of a committee to explore various options and models for undertaking the process. Fiscal policy

The communiqué urged the Ministry of Finance to, as a matter of urgency, review the targets set in the 2014 budget.

“The review must identify likely deviations and make proposals for plugging the resultant financing gap, while the Bank of Ghana traces the implications of the revisions for monetary policy”, it recommended.  

It called on the government to establish a mechanism to realign the budget whenever the economy was affected by unanticipated shocks.

“That further efforts must be made to improve the efficiency of tax collection, as well as broaden the tax base and reduce recourse to the introduction of new taxes. “The incidence of discriminatory tax exemptions should be reviewed and reduced,” it said.

It recommended that steps be taken to develop long-term financing instruments. Monetary Policy

The communiqué called on the Bank of Ghana to expedite work on the assessment of the recently announced foreign exchange measures and take speedy and appropriate action to restore confidence and relieve the unintended consequences of the measures.

It stated that consideration be given to the amendment of the Bank of Ghana Act to set a ceiling on its lending to government based on government’s revenue collection in the previous year, rather than the current year, as was the case.

“This should be separated from the ceiling on total net domestic borrowing by government,” it said. Energy and Investment 

The communique suggested the establishment of an investment programme that would deal with the energy crisis in order to propel growth, employment, competitiveness and macroeconomic stability.

It also called on the government to establish a one-stop-shop for investment, electronic templates to simplify business processes and streamline the activities of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre and the Free Zones Board.

It said it was important to strengthen the capacity of the Ghana Statistical Service and other statistical reporting agencies to deliver reliable and timely economic and social statistics for planning, research and development.

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