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Business News Wed, 19 Sep 2007

Government urges AGI to provide data to enhance busininess

Accra, Sept. 19, GNA - Government has urged the Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI) to sustain the churning out of reliable data, saying government would consider their findings as a means of enhancing the business climate in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the 2007 AGI Business Climate Survey, Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said any government that ignored such information from the survey, did so at its own risk and, "we must make full use of the report, especially at the national, regional and district levels. Otherwise we stand the risk of losing out on the development of a very important sector of our economy."

He urged Chief Directors and Directors of all government institutions to give the Survey the due attention to bring about the needed change which it was intended to achieve.

Examining the Survey, Mr. Baah-Wiredu said it was quite refreshing and government has taken the lessons from the survey. The Finance and Economic Planning Minister said it was an unfortunate situation the country was facing the energy crisis but that government was on top of the situation.

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"What we must do is to get our engineers to ensure that never again do we have to allow this to happen arguing that it is not industry and the manufacturing sector alone that suffered during the major load shedding exercise, but homes and dislocation of social lives." In this direction, he explained that engineers were working around the clock to ensure that the change required was effectively secured over the short to medium term.

On the need to improve access to funds, Mr Baah-Wiredu said credit was key to providing the fuel to move industry and "we need to do more than what we have done now. But our banking and finance sectors must be up and doing and be counted among the high performers." He called for continuous dialogue between government and the private sector, adding that, it was important for confidence and trust to be built between borrowers and creditors.

He said last year 657 billion dollars was transferred out of developing countries into developed economies, questioning why this must be so when the reverse was needed. "The time has come for us to reinforce the issues and get moving forward.

The AGI 2007 Business Climate Survey said the prolonged national load shedding programme weighed down the confidence of businesses in all sectors adding that competition from imported goods was a major concern, especially for the manufacturing industry. Mr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, President of the AGI said access to land was still a major challenge for trade and the service sector, noting that several government proposals including the creation of land banks were yet to come to fruition, making the issue of land quite dire. He said businessmen want a simplified tax code instead of the current one which required so much to be done and noting that businessmen were not keen on always going to court and would prefer a simplified system where charges and fees were paid. Mr Agyeman Manu, Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Private Sector Development and Presidential Special Initiatives said the Ministry had started implementing the trade sector policy programme, under which the small medium enterprises would be given priority. 19 Sept. 07

Source: GNA
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