He said political tolerance is the only way to ensure growth and opportunities for the private sector, as well co-ordinated economic development and decent employment opportunities for the people.
Mr Darko, who was speaking at the 53rd Annual General Meeting of the Association in Accra, said GEA had consistently supported the sustainable development and growth of Ghanaian enterprise to give opportunity, employment and livelihood to millions of the people.
“I will therefore entreat labour, government and…stakeholders to continue to work with the GEA to create more wealth and provide jobs for the citizenry as a token of the democratic dividends,” he said.
The meeting was on the theme: “Consolidating Ghana’s Democracy as a catalyst for enterprise Growth and Employment Creation.”
The GEA President said one of the greatest challenges facing businesses is the issue of counterfeit goods and illicit trade and called for re-examination of trade and investment policies especially economic partnership agreement as well as other protocols to check the influx of all kinds of goods and services at the expense of local enterprises.
Mr Darko said GEA with support from Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund, shall in the coming days step up advocacy in combating the canker.
“We shall require the support of government, media, organised labour and especially the consuming public to join us in this crusade.”
Mr Darko expressed worry about the rampant industrial actions by workers in the public sector following the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy and expressed the hope that given the commitment made by the social partners at the Ho forum, there would be considerable decline in strikes.
He noted that the country’s power crisis had improved modestly and urged government to implement its medium and long term energy plans to the fullest.
He said critical to the whole energy self-sufficiency for Ghana is the issue of tariffs, adding that the perennial politicisation of tariff adjustment could only inure to the disadvantage of consumers.
“GEA beliefs in the cost recovery provided our service providers reduce significantly their costs of doing business, reduce waste, production transmission losses as well as administrative expenses,” he said.
Nii Armah Ashitey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, in a speech read on his behalf said government would continue to improve systematically the quantum and quality of services pertaining to utilities especially electricity and water to improve the business climate and reduce overhead costs especially in utility consumption.
He noted that successive governments had initiated various policies, programmes and projects to enhance enterprise growth and employment creation.
Nii Ashitey said the root of the unemployment problems facing the country is due to the mismatch courses run in the Universities and other tertiary schools as well as the world of work.
He called for better linkage between academia and industry to ensure that there is no more emphasis on courses for which there are no vacancies.
Mr Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, said the theme for the meeting was appropriate as well as the timing taking into consideration the recent ruling by the Supreme Court.
He said the verdict had repositioned Ghana’s democratic credentials and commended the 2012 flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo Addo for accepting the Court verdict.
He announced that government is taking second look at all international protocols to make them friendlier to the local enterprises than before.
“If Africa will grow, create job for our people, depending on ourselves is more eminence than depending on these protocols,” he said.
He said an Economic of Africa Commission’s report affirmed the position when it noted that Africa stand the chance of gaining from trading among themselves than doing the same with other countries.