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Private sector the engine of economic growth - Bartels

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Accra, Feb. 9, GNA - Mr Kwamina Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives (PSI) said on Wednesday that government had credit facilities available to assist small and medium scale enterprises to expand their businesses.

He said the private sector was included in the President's three priority areas since it has a pivotal role to play in the growth of the economy.

Mr Bartels was contributing to the debate on the President's State of the Nation Address in Parliament.

"So far 32 small and medium scale enterprises have accessed some of the facilities made available and are currently expanding their businesses."

The Minister said his ministry intends to support the training of young entrepreneurs to be able to cope with problems associated their growing businesses.

The government, he said, was bringing in more investors to boost private participation to facilitate transfer of technology and create more employment for the youth.

"We have been able to facilitate the work of the private sector irrespective of their owners political leanings and this has led to efficiency, growth and improved services."

Mr Bartels said the private sector had also benefited from the stability of cedi as well as low interest rate being charged by the banks, which has enabled most businesses to acquire loans for expansion. "Ghana cannot depend on only gold, cocoa and timber which are all subjected to the vagaries of the world economic market, so there is the need for diversification hence the PSI."

He said the facilitation, development and expansion of the PSI's would go a long way to minimise the effects of the fall in prices of the traditional exports and enhance the economy. Mr Bartels said currently non-traditional exports earn the country about 700 million dollars annually and government intends to give more support to some targeted products.

Mr Joe Gidisu, National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Central Tongu, said although the President's address was reconciliatory in nature, it did not offer any innovation or new programmes.

"This government prides itself in packaging old programmes and giving them new names to make them look like something new." He said for example human resource development, which the Majority side are stressing, is nothing new because since independence "governments after governments have been trying to develop its human capacity building."

"What was lacking is the political will to implement the programme and after four years in power the New Patriotic Party... has now seen the need to do so."

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