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Govt urged to consult private sector on economic policy formulation

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Accra, Feb. 28, GNA - Participants at a roundtable on the economy on Tuesday urged the Government to consult operators in the private sector in economic policy formation.

The participants noted that private sector operators reacted to Government policies positively or negatively depending on socio-economic benefit of their individual and collective businesses and not rhetoric of policymakers.

The participants were speaking on: "How Can Ghana Achieve Eight Per Cent Economic Growth on a Sustained Basis?"

It was organised by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) in collaboration with the African Capacity Building Foundation. The conference formed part of civil society policy dialogue and advocacy programmes for 2006 to debate Ghana's economic growth and assess the past trends that had hovered around or below five per cent for about two decades.

The conference attended by Government Officials, Members of Parliament, the private sector, civil society operators and media practitioners was aimed at creating a forum for dialogue, consensus building and collective action and to raise public awareness about the importance of the eight per cent target and the need to contribute to its attainment.

The participants said: "Policymakers could stand at the roof top and sing songs of praise on the private sector being the engine of growth, golden age of business, vision 2020 and other slogans, but if these slogans fail to meet the aspiration of the private sector operators the policies would woefully fail."

On the national policies to reduce poverty, the participants noted that unless the economy grew faster at a higher rate of between eight per cent to 10 per cent poverty could not be reduced and the aspiration to attain middle level income status could not be realized any time soon.

In a welcoming address, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director of IDEG said of late, the debate on economic growth had sharpened somewhat with some convergence occurring on the eight per cent annual growth rate targeted especially under the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II- 2006-2009), which was the current medium-term plan for the country.

This policy restores Ghana's economic growth target to the level envisaged by the Vision 2020 strategy, which was also eight per cent, and was also confirmed by the World Bank Country Office in Accra. "For Ghana to achieve its targeted growth rate of eight per cent 10 per cent there is the need to increase productivity, which would lead to job creation."

Dr Akwetey said if growth target had so far not been achieved in the country it was legitimate to ask how such a high rate could be realized this time around and sustained in the future. He argued that for an eight per cent growth per annum to be attained there was the need to move from the traditional approach to development and to come out with innovative strategies to fast track the growth of the economy, especially when the expectation of the people was so high and the world was developing at a fast rate.

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