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General News of Tuesday, 15 July 2003

Source: GNA

Bartels meets the Press

Accra, July 15, GNA - The Minister of Private Sector Development, Mr. Kwamena Bartels on Tuesday said the aim of the ministry is to effectively consult with the private sector to ensure that government and all stakeholders derive maximum benefits from the sector. Addressing Journalists at the Meet-The-Press series in Accra, Mr. Bartels said an advisory board on private sector development has been set up.

"It consists of representatives of the private sector and experts from the industry who work together with an inter-ministerial committee also made up of ministries, departments and agencies whose activities impact on the private sector."

He said government recognizes the importance of public private partnership, saying this was a sure means of developing a potent and highly responsive economy.

He said government has financial, technical and managerial constraints in providing services at the pace required. The public partnership approach is the only way out, he added.

Bartels decries lack of date on private sector

Accra, July 15, GNA - The Ministry of Private Sector Development on Tuesday decried the lack of credible data on the private sector, saying it was seriously hampering the development of the sector. Mr Kwamena Bartels said information is not readily available, neither is there reliable data on small, medium enterprises or the large informal sector.

Mr Bartels was speaking in Accra when he took his turn at the meet-the-press series to discuss the performance of his ministry in the last two and a half years.

Ghana has about 480,859 registered businesses categorised into sole proprietors, partnerships, private limited liability companies, public companies, external companies and non-governmental organisations. He said it was the desire of government to ensure that the Golden Age of Business is ushered in with a meaning.

Mr. Bartels said in this regard, the ministry is working to remove the bottlenecks in, not only data acquisition but also the total development of the private sector.

"The vision involves the implementation of policies to strengthen and energize the private sector as the main driver for economic growth, while at same time build capacity ... to support the private sector." He said government, among other things, has initiated a programme of mentoring the youth in tertiary institutions with the introduction of the captains of industry programme.

"Under the programme, successful business entrepreneurs across the country would be invited to share and celebrate their lives with the young ones."

In future, Mr Bartels said government would at the enterprise level provide support to the Young Investor's Programme, provide funding for young entrepreneurs at the rate of three a year and facilitate the change in the curricula of tertiary institutions to be private sector friendly and supportive.

On the goals achieved by the ministry, the Minister said there had been a positive inter face between the various stakeholders and the private sector.

Mr Bartels said the ministry has also instituted bi-monthly meetings with the Governing Council of the Private Enterprise Foundation leading to cabinet's approval of the payment of the National Reconstruction Levy on half yearly basis instead of on quarterly basis.

"This is to enhance the liquidity position of the various enterprises."

He said the Ministry and PEF are currently working with the relevant sector ministries on withholding tax, reclassification of non-traditional export commodities into traditional exports. He said, yam, for instance would become a traditional export. Other areas being discussed are the capitalisation of the Ghana Investment Fund, repatriation of funds in the mining industries, treatment of bad debts and compliance with ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme by member states and the means of reducing the cost of doing business in Ghana.