The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Terkper, has said the government will make a conscious effort to correct the many forms of inefficiency in the management of public institutions in the country.
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He said the public sector could also draw useful lessons from the private sector where management systems were effective and efficient to improve on its performance.
Addressing participants at the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) 2013 in Accra Tuesday, the minister highlighted the changing structure of the economy and growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) as the key planks that could propel the country forward.
The forum, which was on the theme, “The role of leadership in driving national economic prosperity”, seeks to create a platform to bring together corporate executives, civil society leaders and heads of institutions to deliberate on economic development issues in a non-partisan manner.
Mr Terkper observed that the 2013 budget was to ensure an improvement in the services and industrial sectors.
He said for him, the government’s focus now was to diversify the economy in order to avoid contracting the Dutch disease.
He added that it was time the government assessed the Petroleum Revenue Management Act to evaluate its benefits and that “value addition and diversification is going to be key to the government”.
He proposed the creation of an infrastructure fund, using oil revenue, to accelerate development and said the government would develop a new medium-term plan designed to realise its developmental objectives.
Touching on the growth in GDP, Mr Terkper said the country, with its current middle-income status, had more access to capital and expressed the government’s resolve to partner the private sector to create a congenial atmosphere for businesses to thrive.
The Minister of State in charge of private-public-partnership, Alhaji Rashid Pelpuo, assured the private sector of the government’s commitment to partner the sector in the provision of public goods.
He said partnering the private sector would create the necessary environment to conduct businesses with ease and added that the government was working on a public sector partnership strategy to forster a closer working relationship with the private sector.
Speakers from the private sector who shared their views on the theme blamed the structural and economic challenges facing the country on the lack of effective leadership in all sectors of national life.
According to them, until the leadership of the country, right down to organisational heads, instilled some level of discipline into the society, Ghana’s quest to develop would remain an elusion.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the UT Group, Mr Prince Kofi Amoabeng; the CEO of Stratcom Africa, Ms Esther Cobbah, and the Executive Chairman of the Global Media Alliance, Mr Edward Boateng, were unanimous in their call on Ghanaians to adopt a paradigm shift by imbibing a sense of discipline in their lives.
Mr Amoabeng said reducing corruption by 30 per cent would mark a turning point in the country’s development agenda.
He said there was the need for the right systems to be put in place in order that people could be rewarded based on their hard work.
“We need, as a country, to build systems, institutions and processes that must judge who gets what,” he stated.
Taking her turn, Ms Cobbah said Ghana currently had the potential to prosper if the proper things were done and deplored the poverty levels in the country, in spite of the rapid economic growth chalked up by the country.
She said the ability to resist corruption, the display of honesty, fairness, discipline and tenacity of purpose were the marks of a good leader and called on leadership in the corporate world to consider investing in human resource to achieve productivity.
“A good leader is one who is also committed to protecting the rights and interests of women who form majority of the population,” Ms Cobbah said.
For his part, Mr Boateng said Ghana required the kind of leadership that would lift people out of poverty.
For him, boldness, integrity and a simple common sense approach to issues were the qualities of good leadership.
“Good leaders are those who set achievable goals and inspire their people,” he said.
The Executive Director of the Business and Financial Times, organisers of the forum, Mrs Edith Dankwah, earlier in her welcoming remarks, had called on all stakeholders who were committed to seeing Ghana emerge as a superpower to join hands in the campaign for economic prosperity for all.
Story by Sebastian Syme