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General News Fri, 29 Sep 2006

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Delays in provision of utility services affect operations of SMEs -

Cudjoe

Cudjoe Takoradi, Sept. 29, GNA - Mr Samuel Cudjoe, Principal Programme Officer of the National African Peer Review Mechanism-Governing Council (NAPRM-GC) on Friday said an effective and prompt provision of utility services could accelerate the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and businesses (SMEs) in the country. He said long delays, frustrations and uncooperative attitude of personnel of service and utility providers led to the establishment of most SMEs without the requisite services and documentation. Mr Cudjoe was speaking at the opening session of a day's workshop for stakeholders in the Western Region on the APRM Country report at Takoradi.

He said in addition to the Companies code, which was outdated, the weak capacity and lack of qualified accountants in the regions should be addressed and suggested that some of the accountants in Greater Accra region should be transferred to improve the situation in the regions. Mr Cudjoe appealed to financial institutions to review their lending requirements for SMEs while the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies were encouraged to improve access to public funds and loans.

Professor Samuel K. Agyepong, Chairman of NAPRM-GC said democracy was expensive therefore; efforts must be made to review and improve on the district assembly concept. He said the assemblies as well as other state institutions must be properly resourced to perform their expected functions to promote good governance and democracy.

Prof. Agyepong called for a change in the attitude between the public and private sector for the country to progress adding 93It is pathetic that most public officials work for less hours, demand bribes to perform a service and are always demanding increases in salaries." He said the success of democracy depended on an enlightened society and did not breed corruption.

Mr Kwaku Baa-Owusu, Western Regional Director of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) said accountability was one of the surest ways to deepen democracy.

He said the commission was ready and willing to partner democratic institutions in the country to deepen democracy, transform lives of the people and make them responsible to their civic responsibilities. Mr Baa-Owusu said a combine effort would assist in eliminating corruption and promoting growth and development of the country.

Mr Kwasi Blay, Deputy Western Regional Minister said Ghana's economic freedoms and transformation could be best achieved under a democratic system of governance. He said the present ideology was the promotion of democracy and its structures and institutions. Mr Blay said reduction in poverty; enhanced social and human development could be attained when the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) were implemented successfully.

Source: GNA

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