, NEW YORK, Sep 26 – Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has challenged the private sector to abandon the perception that they are in opposition and insist on meaningful institutional partnerships with governments in order to forge meaningful ventures.
Mudavadi said the private sector fails to impact on influencing development due to dependence on the goodwill of transitory regimes rather than insisting on institutional infrastructure in countries to guarantee their contributions.
“We tend to deal with regimes as a favour to do business and therefore are perceived as opposition when we disagree rather than as a sector which merits respect as a contributor to development,” he said.
The DPM was addressing a UN forum on “Delivering on the MDGs: Accelerating for the future” organised by business people as part of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
He spoke to members of Global Compact, a 7,000 strong private business corporate member organisation in 135 countries.
Flanked by Miguel Pestana, Vice President Global External Affairs for Unilever and Georg Kell, CEO of Global Compact, Mudavadi emphasised that the business sector will achieve a lot in helping the next stage of MDGs if they avoided deliberate courting of transitional government regimes for short time gains.
He said such relations were governed by a redundant cold war ideology which determined that “in order to do business, you had to grease the hand of the Big Man, as long as he was against your country’.
“The value of sustaining MDGs from the business sector contribution lies in a partnership with government based on predictable institutions. Business must insist on predictable legislation that protects public and private partnerships not particular individuals in power,” he said.
Mudavadi said business must also provide “concrete, pragmatic and actionable proposals on mobilising global and domestic financial resources instead of committing to help sustain a particular regime in power.”
In a frank exchange, Mudavadi said; “You have no moral recourse against a regime if it fails to provide favours. But you will have legal recourse if law protected your investment.”
“MDGs are about social and economic issues for both the investors and recipients. It is not a one way street. The sooner we acknowledge this reciprocity, the sooner we will promote transparency and accountability between government and the private sector in promoting MFGs.”
Mudavadi said he believed governments should accept public-private partnerships (PPPs) as tools that improve competitiveness that would deliver services to the people.
He announced that Kenya will soon fully embrace the PPP because the Constitution demands an all inclusive public participation guarantee in policy and legislative formulation.
“I invite the business community to look at Kenya as an opportunity for private sector participation in financing, building and operating MDGs-related infrastructure and facilities”, he said.