The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), the apex business council in Ghana, has advocated the creation of a new incentive scheme, to attract private sector investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) sectors.
According to the association, the scheme should include tax relief, concessions, rebates, subsidies and a low-cost and long-term pool of funding, to make available resources for private sector investments.
The PEP said the creation of an enabling environment for private sector participation, would help the country achieve the 2030 goals since public sector funding alone was insufficient to meet the demands of all SDG-related sectors.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB), a member of the PEF, John Awuah, made the call at a consultative meeting with the private sector on the SDGs, in Accra, yesterday.
Organised by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and its partners, the event was to solicit the input of the private sector into the final 2022 Voluntary National Review (VNR) report on the SDGs, to be presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the 2030 Agenda in July, this year.
As part of the follow-up mechanism for the SDGs, adopted in 2015, UN member states are required to conduct voluntary reviews. The current VNR would be the country’s second document after its first VNR in 2019.
The consultative meeting was attended by private sector groups, including the Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana Chamber of Mines and Chamber of Agriculture Business and civil society organisations.
According to Mr Awuah, with involvement in SDGs low globally, achieving the goals in Ghana would require a steep change in both public and private investments.
“A range of partnerships that mobilise private sector finance and expertise must be purposefully explored to ensure the achievement of the SDGs locally,” he said.
Mr Awuah said the use of risk-sharing tools for SDG investments, including public-private partnerships, investment insurance and blended financing should be expanded to help improve the risk-return profile of SDG investment projects.
He also recommended the establishment of a sustainable SDG Public-Private Partnerships through a platform anchored in a private sector apex institution to direct various phases of projects in the SDGs.
He said enabling innovative financing mechanisms and a reorientation of financial markets such as green bonds or impact investing would help woo the private sector.
The private sector, according to Mr Awuah, was ready to help achieve the SDGs as the banking sector, for instance, had stopped financing businesses like illegal mining that hurt the environment.
The Director-General of the NDPC, DrKodjo Mensah-Abrampa, said the private sector played a critical role in the attainment of the SDGs and should support in the areas of health, education, sanitation and infrastructure development, and housing.
He said the country was making gradual progress in realising the 17 goals and would need the support of all to develop an inclusive VRN and double up efforts.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR