By Nick Mann | 29 February 2012
Governments need to lay the foundations for a stable and
lasting economic recovery by dealing with fiscal deficits, enabling growth and
encouraging talent in the workforce, PricewaterhouseCoopers said yesterday.
In a report, Taking
responsibility: Government and the global CEO, the accountants said that
while developed and developing countries face different challenges, they all
needed to maintain fiscal discipline while also coping domestically with the
consequences of crises in other regions. The report is based on the results of
a survey of company chief executives in 60 countries and interviews with 23
government officials worldwide.
Jan Sturesson, PwC’s global leader for government and
public services, said: ‘All governments have a duty to focus on returns on
investment and maximise value for taxpayers, whether or not spending is being
reduced – whilst improving the quality of services delivered to the public.
‘One thing is clear: with an increasingly disruptive
future, “business and government as usual” is not an option.’
Developing and executing plans to better balance public
finances, focusing on cutting costs and finding new sources of funding should
be among the priorities for governments dealing with deficits, PwC said.
They should also develop new approaches to workforce
reform, innovate in service delivery – such as by making better use of the
private and voluntary sectors – and improve accountability and transparency, it
Governments have a ‘major responsibility’ for creating
the right conditions for financially, economically and environmentally
sustainable growth, the report said. In particular, they should focus on
cities, which are a ‘key engine’ of sustainable growth, as well as clusters of
economic activity and a ‘balanced, integrated’ infrastructure programme.
And they should also help businesses to meet their skills
needs, it added. Scott McIntyre, global government and public services co-leader
at PwC, said: ‘Collaboration between the public and private sectors is critical
to the recruitment and retention efforts facing leading organisations.
‘Governments can do more to create an environment to
overcome shortages in market skills and talent.’