Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister has tasked participants at the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) to critically assess government policies and offer workable recommendations.
He said government needed to be guided, critiqued and pushed to do the right things at some points during their governance.
Citing an Akan proverb, which stresses the need for external critique and correction, Mr Osafo-Maafo said it was important for government to be corrected while it implemented its ‘shopping list of promises’ (manifesto).
“That is the way to grow the nation, that is why we have expertise within the nation,” he stated.
Mr Osafo-Maafo was giving the keynote address at the opening of the seventh edition of the GEF, in Accra, on Tuesday.
He commended the GEF for its contribution to policy over the years, noting that, four of the major policies that government had implemented, including the abolition of tax in domestic air travel, legislation of local content in the oil and gas sector, establishment of the infrastructure investment fund and the introduction of the energy sector levy, has come out of recommendations from the first five editions of the GEF.
He highlighted agriculture, technology, and industrialization, as key areas where government could benefit from logical, implementable recommendations from the forum.
He said while Ghana had talked about agricultural transformation since independence, it was yet to be seen as agriculture still lagged behind.
It was thus important for the Forum to assess the implementation of policies such as the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One District One Factory, and recommend ways to improve its implementation in order to realise the transformation sought.
He also lamented the phenomenon of dumping of sub-standard products in Ghana’s markets, such as in the cable manufacturing sector where about 96 per cent of electrical cables were sub-standard, although those made in Ghana were of better quality.
“Why should we allow that level of cheap imports and what do we do about it?” he asked, noting that, such dumping posed a challenge to local manufacturing and should be addressed.
Dr Mrs Edith Dankwa, Chief Executive Officer of the Business and Financial Times, organisers of the Forum, said the theme for this seventh edition of the GEF: “Building a Competitive Economy for Sustaining Growth”, was appropriate as underdevelopment continued to widen in various parts of economy.
“Unemployment, arguably one of the biggest challenges we face now as a country and it is expected to worsen in the face of the current crisis in the financial services sector,” she said, adding that, this showed that strong economic growth without accompanying job opportunities and restoration of social contracts was not sustainable.
She urged government and the business community to pursue a common agenda to create jobs and ensure that economic prosperity was more equitable, diverse and inclusive.