The Minister of Business Development, Honourable Ibrahim Awal has today reiterated government’s commitment in making Ghana a business hub through a number of strategies that will also improve the country’s economy.
He stated that government has started work on improving local businesses as a priority and will need the support of Ghanaians to make it a reality, “It is our top priority to make Ghana a number one business nation at least in West Africa”, he added.
Hon. Awal made the assertion today, during an interaction with Chief Executive Officers from various companies who are also members of the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce to deliberate on strategies to drive businesses in Ghana.
Established in 2016, the UK – Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) was launched to facilitate and promote the ever-increasing need for collaboration between SME’s and large multi-national corporations operating in the UK and Ghana.
The meeting which involved about twenty (20) members of the UKGCC, from the telecoms, energy, logistics, finance, legal and business associations, also created a platform for the CEOs to share their concerns and challenges with the minister. It was also an opportunity for Mr. Awal to clarify issues concerning local businesses and ways to improve the Ghanaian economy.
According to him, “a criteria has been rolled out for the implementation of the ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative as part of government’s strategies in building the economy. Government is implementing this considering the raw materials and also employing the local people from these areas”. He said.
The Minister also mentioned that his ministry would launch a National Employment and Implementation Plan, a capacity building program of about USD 100 million that will equip the youth in various fields to acquire entrepreneurial skills. “Capacity building is important to us in improving businesses. We also believe this will curb unemployment and make Ghana an entrepreneurial nation”, he added.
Hon. Awal further revealed that 70% percent of public funded projects would be given to Ghanaians out of which 10% will also be directed to startups, and also promised tax relieves for startups.
He agreed with participants on the importance of infrastructure in growing businesses reiterating that “infrastructure is key and very important to us when we talk about business growth”, he added.
On how the government would fund projects, Hon. Awal indicated that government’s approach to realigning taxes, working with budget, banks, business associations and the private sector.
He assured businesses of government’s plan to tackle inefficiency in public institutions through the Public Sector Reform Committee, and encouraged participants to consult his ministry should they have challenges.
In his welcome address, the CEO of UKGCC, Mr. Tony Burkson congratulated government for its work on improving Ghanaian businesses, and on behalf of the group appealed to government to implement an internal policy that would protect local businesses from multinationals pervading the atmosphere.
Mr. Burkson also revealed that “the UKGCC is setting up a ‘Tax and Commercial Law’ committee to help hold government and office bearers accountable.
Mr. Edward Addo Jr. and Madam Linda Vasnani, from Winmat Limited and Consolidated Shipping Agencies Limited (Conship) respectively, declared government’s new policies as positive and encouraging, and expressed hope that they would be implemented for constructive results. They both referred to difficulties in funding projects as one major challenge in their businesses.
Participants expressed appreciation to the UKGCC for making it possible for them to meet with the Minister.
The UKGCC also facilitates and promotes trade and commercial relations between the UK and Ghana, and provides exceptional support for its members through the sharing of knowledge and ideas whilst hosting various activities designed to build stronger networks that will connect business and create further opportunities.