Businesses have voiced their collective opinion that government should prioritise three essential Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the upcoming 2024 budget, according to a survey by KPMG.
The study, a pre-budget survey conducted by KPMG that interviewed 133 businesses across various industries, provided valuable insights into their expectations and concerns related to the national budget and economic policies.
The report revealed that the top-three SDGs businesses believe the 2024 budget should focus on are: Goal 1, No Poverty; Goal 3, Good Health and Well-Being; and Goal 4, Quality Education. These SDGs have been identified by businesses as crucial for the nation’s progress, and they believe government must allocate adequate resources to address them effectively.
Evans Asare, Partner of Deal Advisory at KPMG, emphasised the importance of prioritising these SDGs, stating: “Businesses feel that the 2024 budget must address these three most important goals in the SDGs”.
He also commended government’s efforts to integrate ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles into budget allocation and processes. In the same vein, he highlighted the need for businesses to actively incorporate ESG into their operations.
As per the survey, 92 percent of respondents believe their businesses are contributing to achievement of the SDGs, demonstrating their commitment to these global goals. Respondents provided reasons for their desire to see the 2024 budget prioritise the three selected SDGs.
Regarding Good Health and Well-Being (Goal 3), in light of ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are acutely aware of the significance of ensuring good health and well-being for all. They stressed the critical role of health in supporting economic growth and social transformation.
For Goal 1, No Poverty, the survey highlights a need to address poverty as fundamental to creating a prosperous society. Businesses recognised that poverty eradication should be a top priority for government, as a hungry population cannot actively participate in economic activities and innovation.
For Quality Education, Goal 4, given that quality education is seen as a catalyst for societal advancement, businesses stressed the importance of accessible and high-quality education in fostering job creation and empowering the workforce.
The survey also highlighted the degree of alignment between businesses and the SDGs. While 85 percent of respondents indicated that their businesses are aligned with the SDGs, 15 percent expressed a desire to align their operations with these global objectives. This shows a widespread consciousness among businesses about the SDGs’ significance for national development.
Key areas of importance for businesses in aligning with the SDGs include human resource development, affordable energy and responsible use of raw materials. These aspects were identified as having a substantial impact on economic development, citizens’ well-being, social transformation and job creation.
Respondents provided valuable suggestions for government to incorporate SDGs into the national budget formulation process. They proposed that government should use the SDGs as the basis for resource allocation, and prepare a qualitative report on how the budget contributes to achieving these global goals. This approach would not only support the country’s progress toward the SDGs, but also incentivise businesses to actively engage with these objectives.
In his address at the post-survey presentation, Evans Asare concluded: “These areas have a great impact on economic development, the well-being of citizens, social transformation and job creation. They form the basis of human existence, and will help speed up achieving the other SDG goals. The effects of COVID-19 have brought these to the fore. These are issues which require immediate attention from governments, especially in Africa, to sustain efforts aimed at achieving the desired impact”.