Gov’t Facing Tough Times – Amissah Arthur Admits

Vice President Paa Kwasi Amissah Arthur. Inset: The Flagstaff House

Vice President Paa Kwasi Amissah Arthur. Inset: The Flagstaff House

Government has confessed to facing difficulty times in its quest to address the country’s economic problems.

Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, who made the submission during a meeting with the Council of the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF) in Accra, said due to the prevailing situation, government has invited the country’s private sector to undertake key infrastructure projects, adding that Government was preparing to fully kick-start a public-private-partnership this year.

Mr Amissah-Arthur explained that Government’s intention to partner private firms was aimed at addressing the country’s infrastructure shortfalls.

In the next couple of years, he revealed that Government would not be able to invest much into certain sectors.

Asare Akuffo, president of the PEF Council, in a remark, appealed to Government to work hard to improve the country’s business environment.

On behalf of the business community, Mr Akuffo pledged that it will work closely with government to provide the growth that is needed in the areas of investment, employment creation and development.

In the 2013 Budget Statement, themed: ‘Sustaining Confidence in the Future of the Ghanaian Economy’, Government indicated it would endeavour to maintain a stable macro-economic and debt service record in order to tap into the 10-year or more bond and loan markets.

‘This will ease pressure on credit to the private sector and help reduce interest rates,’ Seth Terkper, Finance Minister read.

According to him, said since the problems were mainly structural, Government was implementing more efficient systems and procedures for processing her transactions.

‘Our efforts at achieving production efficiency, reliability and competitiveness will not achieve much if we do not expand, update and modernize our national social and economic infrastructure.’

Furthermore, he said: ‘In order to maximize private financing to reduce the infrastructure gap, it is the expectation of Government that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) undertaking investment projects will do so within the framework of the Public Investment Plan (PIP); and use a more diversified financing space provided through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) option.’

He said as part of government’s efforts to involve the private sector in public infrastructure and service delivery through PPP, a national policy on PPPs had been designed and launched.

‘Government is currently developing a PPP law that will be introduced soon before this august House for consideration. The policy document and legislative framework will complement other institutional, financial and operational framework to address the key binding constraints.’

Last year, Government spent a little over GH¢21 billion and with plans to embark on a massive infrastructure development, the figure would go up substantially.

 By Samuel Boadi