Government under, the Green Business Initiative has built 75 Green Houses (Domes) to train young entrepreneurs in Agri-business at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region. Over 700 young graduates have been engaged under the initiative.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, on Monday said the private sector and entrepreneurship development objective was to transform the economy and place Ghana as the most business-friendly country in Africa.
He said the medium-term focus was to grow domestic businesses and expand the private sector to create ample employment opportunities, especially for the youth and take Ghana beyond aid.
Mr. Ofori-Atta stated in the presentation of the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review of the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy & Supplementary Estimates in Parliament in Accra.
He said a number of interventions were being implemented to support businesses as well as improve the enabling environment and Ghana’s competitiveness and ranking.
These included on-going reforms to improve business registration, issuance of construction permits, access to electricity, trading across borders, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and registering property.
He said as a result of the interventions, Ghana moved up six places from 120 to 114 in the 2019 Doing Business Rankings of the World Bank Group.
He said Parliament on May 2, 2019 passed the new Companies Act, which introduced various key provisions, that aligned the corporate governance regime to global best practices.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Minister said Ghana won the bid to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area and it was the first time Ghana was hosting an African institution of this importance.
The AfCFTA is the world’s largest Free Trade Area in terms of number of people, covering 54 countries with a population of an estimated 1.2 billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.0 trillion (5 percent of global GDP).
The AfCFTA will lead to the removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers between African countries and thereby promote intra-regional trade from the current low level of 16 percent to over 60 percent by 2022 as well as increase Africa’s share of global trade.
It is expected that by hosting the Secretariat, Ghana as a regional hub would become a reality and the service sector particularly the hospitality sector would experience a major boost through increased international exposure.
Several direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created.
He said in view of the various reforms and implementation of the government’s priority programs, “we believe that Ghana is well positioned to take advantage of the Free Trade Area.”
He said as part of measures to ensure that Ghana derives maximum benefit from the AfCFTA, a National Strategy and Action Plan would be developed to boost Industrial Production and Exports.
National Entrepreneurship Innovation Program (NEIP), Mr. Ofori-Atta said will improve the entrepreneurial capacity of Ghanaians particularly the youth in order to create jobs and develop an innovative business environment for socio-economic development.
He said the Ministry of Business Development has instituted a structured business entrepreneurial training programme for young entrepreneurs and between January and June 2019, over 2,000 young entrepreneurs drawn from the 16 regions of the country were trained in modern business practices.
“An additional 12,000 were also trained under the Presidential business support program,” he added
He said under the Students Entrepreneurship Innovation Program (SEI) to deepen the entrepreneurship culture among students, 30,000 university students were participating in entrepreneurship clubs in various universities across the country.
He said funding was also provided for over 100 disabled women entrepreneurs to support them to scale up their businesses.
He said under the MASLOC- Small and Micro Loans programme, 22,396 beneficiaries were supported as at end June.
He said the micro enterprise sub-sector accounted for 80.6 per cent of total loans disbursed, the agro marketing sub-sector, 13.5 percent and the remaining 5.9 percent was disbursed to applicants engaged in food crop production, poultry and the alternative livelihood sub-sectors.
He said as a result of pragmatic measures including; the establishment of a regional recovery taskforce to enhance efficiency at MASLOC, the loan recovery rate improved from 22 per cent in 2016 to 65 per cent as at mid-year.
The Finance Minister said the achievement will be enhanced with the upcoming implementation of integrated accounting software to improve data collection.