Professor Kwesi Jonah, Head of Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, has urged business associations to build their capacities to influence government policies.
According to him, business associations needed to play a critical role in business policy formulation and direction before they could unleash the economic prosperity of the country.
Professor Jonah made the call at a workshop on promoting business associations in Ghana in Kumasi on Tuesday.
It is the fourth in a series to be organized by the Private Enterprises Foundation (PEF) across the country to collate views of all stakeholders for an action plan to grow these associations.
Professor Jonah said strong and viable business associations could among other things ensure that the state sticks to its core functions of maintaining law and order, providing security and welfare as well as building infrastructure for the private sector to create jobs and wealth for the people.
They could also advise government to change gear when a policy was going off track.
He said businesses should be able to get government to create the right environment for the private sector to thrive and influence social policy, especially in the areas of poverty reduction, education, skills training and tackling unemployment.
Professor Jonah said small and medium scale enterprises had played leading roles in building the economies of developed countries like Germany after World War II and appealed to Ghanaian businessmen to rekindle themselves and provide the required leadership in business policy formulation and direction.
Mr Kwasi Afriyie Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KAB Governance Consult, said strengthening business associations was a shared responsibility of the leadership and members of associations, the state, and development partners.
He added that when business associations were strengthened they would be in the position to hold politicians to their promises of support.
Madam Beatrice Boakye, Brong Ahafo Regional Manager of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), advised them to look at building blocks to strengthen themselves and influence government policies.
Dr Osei Boeh-Ocansey, Director General of PEF, said with viable and self reliant business associations, the private sector would be more vibrant and be able to get their views to Government without any distortion.