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ISSER proffers employment-centred growth strategy

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana's next development strategy has a policy that enables benefits of economic growth to be shared through better job opportunities and improved incomes.
According to ISSER the end of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda has paved the way for government to pursue an employment-centred economic growth strategy that will ensure meaningful employment expands along with production.
The Institute said this, along with three other areas, must be the focus of government as the country mulls over a strategy that will induce prosperity among a growing population in an economy that relies largely on the export of gold, cocoa and, lately, oil.
“With respect to Ghana’s broader development, implementation of the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda ended in 2013. The next development strategy for Ghana from 2014 onward should focus on…policies of inclusive growth with the objective of ensuring sustainable economic growth and human development.
“These will entail heightened focus on the equitable participation of all: including women, the youth and persons with disabilities in the economic growth process. There is also need to tackle spatial inequality.
“Priority should be accorded physical infrastructural and human-quality development, rather than the continuing expansion of public institutions, in order to substantially increase absorption of the apparent oversupply of graduates from the various tertiary institutions,” it said.
ISSER, which outlined these in the 23rd edition of its annual State of the Ghanaian Economy Report 2013, in Accra, noted the equal importance that government must place on ensuring sustainability in exploitation of the country’s natural resource endowment -- including agriculture, minerals, as well as oil and gas, supported by strategic investments in human capital, infrastructure and science and technology.
Professor Felix Asante, who heads ISSER, remarked in a presentation that labour productivity in the public sector needs to rise and be commensurate with higher wages.
The Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda, which spanned 2010-2013, has been the main development strategy of government to accelerate economic growth with the view of creating more jobs, generating more incomes, and reduce poverty.
The strategy revolved around ensuring and sustaining macroeconomic stability; enhanced competitiveness of the private sector; accelerating agricultural modernisation and natural resource management; infrastructure and human resource development; and human development, productivity and employment among others.
It is however argued that the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda largely failed to meet its objectives due to significant challenges in the macro-economic front and increased joblessness among the youth.
According to the State of the Ghanaian Economy Report, 2013, which is one of the highly demanded independent reports on the economy, efforts to increase the tax base and mobilise revenue to offset the huge wage bill arising from implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy fell short of expectation, as the objective to reduce the fiscal deficit to 5% of GDP was missed by a significant margin -- recording a deficit figure of 10.1% of GDP.
Additionally, the objective of keeping inflation at a single digit was missed as the end of year inflation rate for 2013 was 13.5% compared to 8.6% in 2012.
Professor Asante said while there is need to increase efforts to mobilise revenue through an expanded tax base, the main culprit in fiscal slippage is the huge expenditure of government, and asked government to watch its spending in order not to overburden the taxpayer.
“When we concentrate too much on revenue, there is the tendency to overtax businesses; and that’s not good for the economy,” he said.

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