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Gov’t outlines blueprint to grow local businesses

Minister designate for Business Development, Awal Ibrahim Mohammed, has indicated that government will roll out a long-term strategy that will help boost the private sector, especially Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs), in a bid to accelerate growth.

His mandate includes initiating policies and measures to achieve the best competitive stand for Ghanaian enterprises, as well as, attracting investments to key sectors of the economy and coordinating activities of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC), National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC).

Mohammed Awal told parliament’s Appointments Committee that, Ghana’s biggest problem is the poor capacity of local enterprises servicing local and international markets.

To address this, he outlined a number of measures, including improving regulatory framework for doing business.

“If you look at the ease of doing business report, either from Forbes or the World Bank, Ghana has consistently been rated very low; that is not good.

There are obstacles to doing business in Ghana, and my mandate is to collaborate with other Ministries, Agencies and private sector to remove all these obstacles and enhance the capacity of the private business”.

He also stated that improving the skills of local businesses to match that of the foreign counterparts is of the essence, adding that: “we intend to build what we call Big 20 companies in this country; they must not only be strong, they must compete globally”.

Another strategy his Ministry intends to carry out is achieving effective branding, which he says helps to promote businesses and helps startups to grow.

Furthermore, he touched on enhancing the effectiveness of government service, stressing that it will ensure government performs.

To build an entrepreneurial nation, Awal Mohammed indicated that there is the need to develop a collaboration between academia and industry.

“This is very important for us; the school incubator we have in China and the US could be replicated here, where students are taught especially in tertiary institutions to build and draw business plans, they are supported with this plans into projects and then industry will support them to grow. By the time, they leave school, they have entrepreneurial skills and they can do business and expand it and employ people,” he explained.

The newly created Business Development Ministry is mandated to address critical challenges confronting local businesses, and help them to grow.

Key among the challenges are the high cost of credit, multiplicity of taxes, cumbersome business registration processes, unfair competition from imported products among others.

Mr. Ibrahim Awal pledged that his initial responsibility, upon confirmation, will include streamlining the registration processes for businesses in Ghana.

Source: B&FT Online

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