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General News Sat, 28 Apr 2001

Help make 'golden age of business' a reality - Apraku

Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Trade and Industry, on Friday tasked officials of the ministry and other stakeholders to help evolve policies that would help make the government's intention to create a 'golden age of business,' become a reality.

They should, therefore, help set clear targets and evolve practical ways of accomplishing them, to ensure that within the next two years, there would be a rise in investments, exports and job opportunities.

Dr Apraku, made the call when he opened a 'brainstorming session to reshape and fine-tune policies, programmes and strategies' of the ministry at Elmina in the central region of Ghana.

The Minister described as unacceptable, the present unemployment situation and the rate of inflation and noted that it is imperative to re-appraise the industrial policies taking cognisance of the macro economic environment.

He emphasised that in this regard, the session should be aimed at re-directing policies, energies and resources into the development of Small-Scale Industries Sector (SSIS) to facilitate the development of the private sector as the engine of growth.

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The National Board for Small- Scale Industries (NBSSI) would be at the centre of all programmes at the ministry adding that such industries would, in particular, be assisted to improve upon the quality of their products to bring them to acceptable standards.

To this end, they are being encouraged to form co-operatives to enhance their operations.

Dr Apraku said government is taking various measures to ensure adequate funding of the SSIS such as the establishment of an investment fund and contacting the donor communities to provide more funding.

Weekly staff durbars would be held to enable staff to put their views across to enhance the smooth running of the ministry.

The Resident Representative of KAF, Mr Martin Wilde, said the foundation is helping to convene the session as a step towards reshaping the economic policies of the country.

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The three-day session, is under the theme " enhancing the growth and development of trade and industries", and has participants drawn from the ministry and selected stakeholders including the NBSSI, Ghana Standards Board, Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) and the private sector.

It is being jointly organised by the ministry and the Konrad Adenuer Foundation (KAF) and is specifically geared towards conducting a situational review to identify key issues currently confronting the development of the trade and industry sectors.

The participants would, therefore, deliberate on enhancing the efficiency of institutions, departments and agencies under the ministry and improving private sector investment in the small-scale industries sector

Source: GNA