As the debate rages on whether the Government should be the one to create more jobs for its citizens, have a role in facilitating job creation or should just get out of the way of business, cutting red tape and taxes so entrepreneurs can grow the economy, members of the business community in the Western Region have expressed their views.
According to them, the question of the state’s role in the economy has traditionally been one of the big dividing lines between the political Left and Right. However, since the late 1970s, there has been something of a consensus across the political spectrum that low taxes, light-touch regulation, and a small state were the key ingredients for economic success.
To them, the consensus has broken down currently as the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis has effectively re-opened the debate while proponents of more State intervention in the economy argue that only government can reduce growing inequalities, ensure fair distribution of public services like gas and electricity, and ensure quality, well-paid jobs.
However, some critics of State intervention, have pointed to the failed economic policies of the country.
Sharing their views in an interview, Mr Justin Ekow Quansah, a member of the Western Regional Association of Garages stated that the Government should step in and create jobs only in case of unemployment when the private sector has no jobs for some individuals and noted that public employment (public work, retraining) was better than raising generations of welfare recipients.
He said the Government should ensure that there is adequate protective labour legislation and see to its application, otherwise, the job market will become even more of a jungle than it already was, while creating the conditions for jobs to be created they should only be inspecting that the world and its people were being treated fairly.
“The Government is, ultimately, developing jobs, whether it is by creating jobs directly or by creating the appropriate breeding ground for the private sector. Neither should be excluded. It has to do with the correct combination of both, which has to lead back to the flourishing of society as a whole and not just the private sector”, he emphasized.
Mr Roland Marte, an automobile dealer said it was not a binary option in that both need to focus on solving the issues facing humanity and that job creation was no longer simply about creating financial wealth but involves ensuring a sustainable future for humanity.
“A government needs to focus on solving the issues facing humanity. Job creation is no longer simply about creating financial wealth but involves ensuring a sustainable future for humanity”, to quote his comment.
Mr Frank Jim, a general merchant said that job creation was the role of individuals and businesses and that “the politicians can use our money, collected through taxes to create jobs but that is nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with politics”.
He said, without any doubt, the job creation role belongs to the private sector, which is the only one proven to ensure performance-based on competition and for that matter, the State involving in commercial activities would only affect the free competition between private agents on the market making it unfair due to the advantages a state company might have.
Nevertheless, he stated that certain public services have to belong to the State because they are an important part and they do influence the labour market giving the state one more possibility to adjust salaries.
Mr Nicolas Schmit, a hydraulics dealer mentioned that capitalism has ignored external costs, such as pollution and climate change which makes goods cheaper and more accessible in the short run, but over time depletes natural resources, lowers the quality of life in the affected areas and increases costs for everyone.
He also indicated that the issue should not be a binary option to debate and added that capitalism promotes and approves of greed whereas communism leaves no room for the individual, at their worst and for that matter, it should be a combination of both and that known combination of both is socialism.
“We don’t want communism, so obviously the private sector should create jobs and the government should create policies that promote investment and job creation”, he pointed out.