Business associations strategise to monitor budget initiatives
Business associations and the Budget Implementation Support Team (BIST) of the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday held a seminar on how to monitor the implementation of various initiatives announced by government in the budget.
The Association of Ghana Industries, the Ghana Employers' Association and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry have been presenting proposals, especially on private sector development, for inclusion in the annual budget.
The budget monitoring initiative, being supported by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC), therefore, was to enable the business associations to track implementation of these various programmes.
In an address at the opening session, Mr. Cletus Kosiba, Executive Director of AGI, said government had over the years recognized the critical role of the private sector in the budget preparation and implementation process.
He said it was important for business associations to go beyond the presentation of proposals, monitor and ensure that the considerations were carried through.
Mr Kosiba said the meeting was the first in a series that would lead to making proposals into the 2009 budget.
He called on the stakeholders in the process to avoid the blame game to ensure the success of the project.
Mrs. Agatha Gaisie-Nketsiah, Head of BIST, said the unit was set up to address the fundamental challenge of closing the gap between policy initiatives and implementation.
On the status of the implementation of initiative on improving the regulatory structures for doing business in the 2008 budget, Mrs. Gaisie-Nketsiah said a cabinet memorandum was being developed to set up a “Better Regulation Task Force”' to bring on board all the regulations into a consolidated one.
Actions were also being taken on initiatives in the energy, transportation and the financial sectors.
Mr. Seth Twum-Akwaboah, Acting Director, Business Development Services of the AGI, said the aim of the monitoring exercise was to help increase government transparency on budget implementation and to develop private sector appreciation of problems in implementation and suggest possible solutions.
He said the programme would involve the training of advocacy staff of the associations to enable them to conduct evidence based policy advocacy.
Other activities lined up are dialogue with government institutions, meeting with Parliamentarians and Ministers and seminar for government agencies.
Mr. Tue David Bak, Senior Consultant, International Business Development, Confederation of Ghana Industries, said the essence of effective monitoring of the budget was to keep government on its toes to deliver on set targets.