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Business News of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Source: GNA

Trade Ministry to enhance productivity of Industries

Kumasi, Feb. 21, GNA - The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development (PSD) and Presidential Special Initiative (PSI) is conducting technology audits into industries with a view to retooling them to improve their productivity and competitiveness. Gifty Ohene-Konadu, Deputy Minister of the Sector, who announced this in Kumasi on Wednesday, said institutions such as GRATIS Foundation, Ghana Standard Board, Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and other Research organizations were also being strengthened to provide technology to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enable them meet standards.

She was speaking at a two-day Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) Consultative Workshop on "attracting Investment to Kumasi". The workshop organized by the MCI, was sponsored by KPMG, Ghana and supported by Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).

It sought to have frank discourse with business communities in Kumasi on general investment conditions as well as promote dialogue and strengthen understanding between the private sector and government. It was attended by government officials, private business community executives, investors, traditional rulers, Heads of departments, planners, environmental officers, media, and a delegation from the Columbia University in the United States.

Mrs Ohene-Konadu said government was committed to ensuring a broad-based and balanced development in all the regions. She said in recognition of the existing financial constraints in doing and expanding business, government had come out with interventions such as the new Venture Capital Fund of over 22 million dollars to provide access to medium and long term finances. The launch of a new 80 million-dollars micro, small and medium enterprises project, as well as Micro-credit and Small Loans (MASLOC) support for enterprise empowerment and development were also meant to aid availability of finances.

Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, expressed concern about the non-functioning of jute and shoe factories in Kumasi and called on investors to revamp them. He also indicated that the Lake Bosomtwe area could be beautified to attract more tourists to promote development. Mr Augustine Otoo, Director, GIPC said the Centre was reviewing the 1994 Business Act to improve the sectors. Nana Adu Gyamfi, Adontenhene, who represented the Asantehene, said land acquisition in the region was easy with virtually no disputes over them.