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Business News of Friday, 23 November 2012

Source: B&FT

Ashanti, BA AGI fail to turn up at AGM

The Ashanti and Brong Ahafo members of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), in a bizarre circumstance, failed to turn-up for their 14th Regional Annual General Meeting held in Kumasi.

The ceremony, which was slated to begin at 10 a.m., took off almost an hour and half late with only a handful of members in attendance. Ironically, most of the people present at the start of the event were non-members who had come to offer their support to the Association.

Speaking at the ceremony which was organised under the theme “Effective decentralisation: the solution to the bane of business in the regions”, Nana Barima Ansu-Adjei, former Regional Chairman of the Association, lamented extensively on the situation -- remarking that the President of AGI would have been deeply disappointed should he have honored the invitation and been present at the event.

The renowned industrialist further questioned the lack of will by industrial operators to source funds made available by government and other international bodies, and mentioned a number of sources of funds where industrial operators could access financial support for their operations. He expressed worry about the failure over time to utilise the opportunity that has been offered to entrepreneurs in the country.

He intimated that several concerns have been raised in the past over lack of support for the private sector from the state, and pointed out that very little can be achieved if members of the private sector do not avail themselves to make efficient use of efforts by successive governments and international monetary bodies to provide financial support.

He further observed that if members of the private sector fail to form a strong and unified body to fight for the interest of its members, it will be almost impossible to guarantee growth of the sector.

The former Regional Chairman appealed strongly to the private sector, particularly members of the AGI, to be informed about all sources of funding provided by government and other international bodies -- and duly apply to access funds made available to support their businesses.

Mr. R. A. K. Nketia, Regional Chairman of AGI Ashanti and Brong Ahafo, drew the attention of government on the over-centralisation of the administrative system of the country in Accra; pointing out that the situation hampers the progress of industries and businesses within other regions of the country.

He cited a report by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, which posts that about 80% of businesses registered in the country since the discovery of oil in commercial quantities settle in the Greater Accra Region.

Mr. Nketia was of the view that these figures clearly demonstrate how difficult business transactions in the other regions are -- thus compelling new and existing businesses to either locate or relocate to the Greater Accra Region, particularly Accra and Tema.

To create an equal playing field for all businesses to operate regardless of their location in the country, he appealed passionately to authorities to strengthen regional offices of the various institutions and organisations that decide on business documentations as part of the decentralisation process.

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