‘Policies play vital role in sustaining economy’

University of the South Pacific’s senior lecturer in economics Dr Neelesh Gounder during an interview with Lens @177 in Suva. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

POLITICAL institutional arrangements and their policies play a vital role in sustaining the economy of any country, says noted University of the South Pacific academic Dr Neelesh Gounder.

As such, elections are likely to pique the interest of private sector organisations.

Dr Gounder said different stakeholders within the economic system were expected to respond to changes in political institutional arrangements or discourse around politics.

“One of the key stakeholders within the economy is the private sector and the private sector is basically what drives the economy and economic activity mostly eventuates from the private sector,” he said.

“So for the private sector, the policies and the framework within which these policies are developed, and the rules and regulations that emerge from the Government, are important in terms of how they see moving forward.

“The political process, and elections are part of the political process, is very important in terms of sending specific signals to different stakeholders within the economic system.”

Dr Gounder said different stakeholders, especially within the private sector, were expected to wait for such indicators and decide what was to be done next.

“For instance, policies are one of those important outcomes. If there’s a change in Government or change in the governance processes, because policies will have an impact in terms of what the private sector does, how does it have an influence on what the private sector is doing?

“So the private sector sells goods and services, it produces goods and services. Therefore, economic activity is generated within that interaction between what is produced and what is sold, what is bought and the income that is generated within the process of producing goods and services.

“The system of producing goods and services and selling does not happen in isolation.

“It’s within a framework of rules, regulations, and policies. Elections, and changes in government will have an important bearing on what kind of policies we have and eventually what kind of rules, regulations, and how does the private sector also end up interacting with the Government of the day.”

According to Dr Gounder, these were all important components that were part and parcel of the economic system.

“Therefore, the private sector will be interested in the electoral process, in the governance factors and mechanisms and policies that are likely to eventuate.”

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