Pres Worried about load shedding

President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday met the Private Sector Council to evaluate the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy IIPRESIDENT John Mahama has called for a strong engagement between the public and private sectors to address the negative effects that the ongoing load shedding exercise is having on local businesses and industries.

Opening a meeting of the Private Sector Advisory Council at the Flagstaff House yesterday, Mr. Mahama expressed grave concern about the effects of the power outages on small scale businesses that government was working hard to grow and make competitive.

The first in a series of three meetings to be held this year, the Council discussed the current state of the economy, the energy crisis; reviewed some actions and policies of the last half year and some of the new ones contained in the 2015 budget.

Membership of the Council include the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, National Development Planning Commission, DANIDA, USAID, Ghana Investments Promotion Centre, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Association of Ghana Industries, Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Employers Association, Ghana Chamber of Mines, DFID, and the Private Enterprise Federation.

President Mahama stressed that the ongoing load management exercise, which was as a result of a reduction in available power to be supplied to meet the huge demand, would definitely erode some of the gains made by government last year.

He, therefore, underscored the need for useful engagements on the issue.

President Mahama advocated collaboration between local businesses and their foreign partners to set up production bases in the country, as a way of expanding Ghana’s export capacity.

He said there were huge opportunities for transformation in the economy and urged businesses to take advantage of such prospects.

The President said the government would, this year, support interventions that diversify exports, especially in the agricultural sector to enhance exports through the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF).

Recently, he said a task force on the Ghana EXIM Bank was put together, and that coupled with the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund would engender solid institutions that would push forward the nation’s transformation agenda.

President Mahama said it was the government’s objective to develop a thriving sector that was productive and competitive to transform the source of the country’s growth and provide economic opportunities for all Ghanaians.

To give further meaning to that objective, he said last year, government provided direct financial support to certain segments of the private sector such as the pharmaceutical industries, agro-businesses and the non-traditional export sector.

He acknowledged the challenges being faced in the implementation of the Private Sector Development Strategy, and also bureaucratic bottlenecks that confront the private sector.

Noting that the council has an onerous responsibility to build a good synergy between the public and the private sector, he looked forward to frank and constructive discussions with the advisory council on the way forward.

By Samuel Nuamah

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