The Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund has provided over 1,100 grants worth $48 million to various Private Sector Organizations (PSOs) across the 16 Regions of the country between 2004 and 2020.
The Fund provided 45 per cent for Agriculture, 19 per cent for Industry and 36 per cent for Services.
Mr Tom Norring, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, said the history and focus of BUSAC was a core part of Denmark’s partnership with Ghana over the last 16 years.
Mr Norring was speaking at the Fund’s end of project event aimed at sharing the impact on the Ghanaian private sector, achievements and lessons learnt with its stakeholders.
The BUSAC Fund programme was set up to strengthen the advocacy capacity of PSOs in Ghana, which are mainly business groups and associations in Ghana.
Funded by DANIDA, the lead Development Partner, USAID and the EU, the BUSAC Fund supported PSOs to undertake advocacy activities aimed at improving the Ghanaian business environment.
He said the second phases of the programme had built on the lessons learnt from the first phase and continued to provide support to private sector organisations seeking assistance to strengthen their capacity to advocate for changes in framework conditions that hampered the growth of sectors of the economy.
Mr Norring said the support was provided at the community, district and national levels and it was complemented by efforts to facilitate public-private dialogue platforms.
It was also supported by post advocacy work with public and private stakeholders, improving the implementation of policies, laws and regulations that affected the business environment.
He said the consistent and comprehensive support BUSAC provided to the advocacy efforts of private sector organisations throughout its lifespan had created a lasting impact, paving the way for the prosperous and self-confident Ghana needed to realise the government’s ambition of moving beyond aid.
Mr Norring said the Fund’s support in 2016 for the Association of Ghana Industries’ (AGI) advocacy for a view of multiple taxes and regulations, impacted negatively on the cost of doing business for their members.
“The dialogue that the AGI was able to initiate with the support of BUSAC led to some tax reviews being announced by the government in the 2017 budget, providing an important step towards enhancing the competitiveness of Ghana’s manufacturing sector,” he added.
Mrs Elizabeth Joyce Villars, Chairperson of the Committee, BUSAC Fund, said the Fund, through its programme, provided the capacity to the private sector to enable them to engage meaningfully with the government on policy dialogue to improve on their operations.
“It had given confidence to the sector to engage the government in progressive improvements and the gap in the policy dialogue with the public sector.”
“They are now better resourced and with support from the BUSAC Fund they have been able to push for more favourable changes in government policies that have improved the business environment of the country,” she added.
The Chairperson said before the BUSAC Fund intervention, there were little provision and coordinated effort made for advocacy for the micro and small business enterprises that constituted a large portion of the endogenous Ghanaian business sector.
She expressed the hope that the Ministry of Trade and Industry, with whom they collaborated over the years, recognised the support provided by the BUSAC Fund interventions and would adopt most of the policies.
Mr Nicolas Gebara, the BUSAC Fund Manager, said, “it is our intention that the Fund’s legacy continues beyond this event.”
He said the management of the Fund was confident that policy dialogues between the private and public sector would continue to contribute to the growth of the private sector.
“This will be in line with the President’s vision for rapid industrialisation, faster growth, job creation, and economic prosperity as Ghana seeks to move beyond aid,” he said.
Mr Patrick Nimo, Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry said the Ministry had also been fruitfully engaged in terms of policy, regulatory and institutional reforms.
He said the government had introduced some strategic instruments, which served as the foundations of the sustainability of all work in terms of policy advocacy and business regulatory reforms.
Mr Nimo said 35 ministries, departments and agencies had been equipped and provided with logistics and training to be able to engage them in regulatory reforms based on regulatory impact assessment, transforms and practices.
“We have also established a National Public-Private Dialogue Mechanism that enables us to have an all year round table consultations and coordination’s of the PPP implementation,” he said.
Mr Nimo urged all stakeholders and beneficiaries of the fund to continue to work towards sustaining the legacy of the BUSAC project and also maintain the collaborative interactions and activities of the Fund.