There is a call on government to apply a renewed focus to strike a fiscal balance and sustainability in order to reduce the cost of delivery. In the same fold, governments should boost agility of public sector organisations to cope with changes in the future.
These were just two findings from the PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) 18th Annual Global CEO Survey. There were 1322 responses from business leaders in 77 countries worldwide being added to valuable insights from 50 governments’ representatives and state-backed CEOs.
Kalani Rampai, leader of local government at PwC Southern Africa, said it has become more important than ever for government to be affordable especially in light of recurrent budget cuts to reduce fiscal deficits in many countries.
“This means doing better for less - meeting rising expectations by doing things differently to deliver services more effectively and efficiently and prioritising the public services that matter most to citizens, as well as to business,” said Rampai.
At the top of the CEO’s wish list for governments' attention was: an internationally competitive and efficient tax system, a skilled and adaptable and workforce and adequate physical infrastructure. A notable 78 per cent of South African CEO’s feel that it’s the government’s responsibility to create a skilled workforce.
Following this survey, PwC’s public sector released a report titled, ‘Government & the Global CEO: Delivering outcomes, creating value’, which calls for government and public sectors to respond in five key ways.
Firstly, deal with fiscal deficits and make government affordable. Seventy-two per cent of CEO’s surveyed are “somewhat” or “extremely” concerned about this threat.
Secondly, rise to the digital challenges. With affordable government facilities tackling the new reality, digital technology has the potential to be a key enabler, offering the scope to deliver higher productivity and better outcomes while also reducing costs.
Thirdly, invest in growth.
“This requires public leadership to facilitate a more demand-driven skills system, meeting employer needs, as well as developing a workforce comprising people from different backgrounds who are adaptable and able to think and work in diverse ways,” said Rampai.
Fourthly, to collaborate with business to deliver societal outcomes and lastly, to tackle the burden of regulation and tax.
“There is an important agenda for public leaders to deliver on all these five areas. Delivering on business priorities, alongside societal outcomes, requires real leadership and trust between citizens and the state for each to do the right thing.”