The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, has advised governments in ECOWAS member countries to partner the private sector to mobilise the needed resources for development.
He explained that the current debt financing of infrastructure projects in the sub-region, which resulted in fiscal deficit, was not sustainable, hence the need for the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Prof. Oquaye made the call in a speech read on his behalf by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, at the opening of a de-localised meeting of the Joint Committee of Administration, Finance, Budget Control and Audit on economic policies, private sector and NEPAD trade, customs and free movement.
The five-day meeting in Accra was attended by members of the ECOWAS Parliament on the theme: "Public-Private Partnership: An Alternative Source of Funding for Community Programmes and Projects".
Prof. Oquaye noted that member countries lacked the needed infrastructure to support their development efforts but however, noted that the countries were unable to raise the needed funds for their projects, which compelled them to resort to debt financing.
Prof. Oquaye said the private sector had sufficient resources which could be leveraged under a PPP to fund infrastructure projects.
"Leverage public and private resources and expertise to reduce the infrastructure deficit and debt stock," he advised.
The Speaker said the government had drafted a PPP bill ready to be presented to Parliament for consideration and possible passage into law.
He urged other countries to go for the bill to guide their implementation of PPP projects.
In her remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said the theme of the meeting was aligned with the vision of the Government of Ghana to encourage more PPPs as a credible alternative source of funding for the socio-economic development of the country.
"The Government of Ghana is of the firm belief that the prosperity of the country is hinged on creating the necessary enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
It should therefore be the engine of growth of the country's socio-economic development; It is only when it happens that we can wean ourselves off the support of development partners and realise our ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ and by extension Africa Beyond Aid," she said.
Free trade area
Touching on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Ms Botchway said the government had decided to formally express its interest to have Ghana host the Secretariat of AfCFTA in Accra.
"We are of the firm belief that Ghana's history and credentials on Pan-Africanism and her continuous commitment to the ideals and values of the African Union makes her a worthy Member State of the African Union to host the secretariat," she said.
Ms Botchway, therefore, urged member countries to support Ghana's dream of getting the secretariat established in Accra.