Former President John Agyekum Kufour has called for the private sector to be supported to create jobs and save the cedi.
“In our current times, when there is a freeze in public sector employment, the burden of providing employment to our teeming youth falls squarely on the private sector,” the former President said Thursday.
“We see our youth roam about in the street - some without educational attainment - unable to find employment. This has led to several nefarious activities that many of the youth occupy themselves with. We all know of the alarming increases in the negative activities.
These are some of the dangers to our society when the private sector is not doing enough to offer the needed employment opportunities to our people.”
Mr Kufour was speaking at a ceremony in Accra to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Ideal Finance – a company he said had contributed “tremendously to the growth of the financial sector” in Ghana.
The former President pointed out that apart from entrenching unemployment, the public sector also suffers when the private sector is weak, as the government loses out on “necessary corporate tax revenue”.
“The managers of our economy should therefore be alarmed when we fail to equip the private sector enough to become robust,” he said.
Echoing concerns by economists that the problem with Ghana’s economy boiled down to a dependence on imports, Mr Kufuor called for the private sector to be supported to boost exports.
He said: “Given the fact the world is moving into one common market of competitiveness and also the fact that Ghana is trapped into importing almost everything we use in our country. Our economy is almost totally import-dependent.
“What we should do in building up robust private sector is to focus target on the private sector of export. To save us from over-importing and also to gain the necessary hard currency from exports because without that, our currency the cedi will continue to fall.”
Mr Kufuor emphasised the need to immediately boost Ghana’s exports, saying it was the only way to save the cedi, which has been declining against major international currencies in recent times.
“There will be no end to it. We cannot predict on our currency. We need to earn the hard currency.”
Mr Kufour, who is relishing his post-office status as an elder statesman, added that supporting the private sector to deliver was urgent because, according to him, with a growing population and an increasing need, Ghana could no longer rely on it traditional export commodities, such as cocoa and gold, to satisfy its foreign exchange needs.