Ghana’s Trade and Industry Minister Haruna Iddrisu has urged business associations, trade unions and the media to initiate innovation ways to improve the competitiveness of the private sector.
Speaking at a day’s workshop organised by the Business Sector and Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund for players in the private sector on Tuesday, he said, government remained committed towards working closely with the private sector to spur growth and development.
The workshop discussed challenges of the private sector and ways improve their competitiveness.
Currently, he said, private sector co-ordination had been placed under the Office of the President, adding a Minister of State at the Presidency had been appointed to co-ordinate and supervise its development.
Mr Iddrisu said steps were also underway to deepen the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy II (PSDII).
Mr Joe Tackie, Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Development Secretariat, said under the PSD II investment climate component, the strategy highlighted financial innovation and access to finance as key constraints in doing business in Ghana and proposed an initiative to resolve the issues.
He expressed worry that financing for Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) was concentrated in the extractive sector, telecommunications and non-bank financial institutions.
He, however, said increased access to finance to the SMEs was critical if Ghana was to experience socio-economic transformation and to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Mr Tackie said: “PSDII proposes an initiative to address access to and cost of finance for SMEs including women-headed enterprises.”
He said the objective of the initiative was to stimulate innovation and to increase access to credit for SMEs at competitive costs through new SMEs appropriate product innovation and other complementary initiatives.
Mr Tackie added that the initiative was expected to help improve the overall investment climate by developing an efficient financial sector that had the capacity to increase private sector access to credit at competitive costs.
Mr Nicolas Jorgensen Gebara, the BUSAC Fund Manager, said increased private sector participation in the policy-making process in an open and transparent manner, created better business climate and added that it was critical for economic growth.
“Engaging the private sector in the legislative advisory process, provides a vital opportunity for dialogue on reform issues with policymakers”, he said.
Mr Gebara noted that private sector associations were important for improving the country’s business climate and making the broader business community a part of the democratic decision-making process.
The BUSAC Fund aims at contributing to the creation of a more enabling business environment for development and growth of the Ghanaian private sector. It achieves its objective by empowering business membership of organizations, trades unions and the media to influence public policy formulation by undertaking appropriate research.