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07.06.2005 Business & Finance

We Will Help Private Sector

President J. A. Kufuor has stated that the government is monitoring the impact of the price increases on petroleum products on the activities of the private sector

He gave the assurance that whenever possible, the government would not hesitate to bail the sector out, although he did not provide details.

He said the government appreciated the difficulties of the private sector and promised to help relieve the sector from its predicament, just as it did in the recent budgetary reduction in the corporate tax. “Let me further assure you that the doors of the government will continue to be open to the business community, especially good corporate citizens like the Coca-Cola Company,” he emphasized.

President Kufuor gave the assurance when he opened a five-day training programme organized by the Public Affairs and Communications (PAC) Institute of Coca-Cola Africa in Accra yesterday.

It is on the theme, “How to interact better with public figures and institutions”. The participants will, among other topics, discuss new ways of supporting social services such as health care and educational initiatives throughout Africa.

President Kufuor said the government believed in sincere, open and frequent interaction with its stakeholders as the best way of achieving mutual understanding, trust and shared ownership of policies and programmes for national development.

He said it was, therefore, nurturing a close and flourishing relationship with the private sector, in particular, through the Ministry of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiatives, the Ghana Investors Advisory Council, the Ghana Investment Promotion Council, the Private Enterprises Foundation and other agencies.

“I assure you that this is the time and place for business, considering the fact that the Central Bank's prime rate has been dropping steadily over the past four years,” He indicated. Just last week, the Central Bank's prime rate dropped from 18.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent.

President Kufuor was also elated by the fact that inflation also kept falling and expressed the hope that it would hit a single digit by the end of this year. “There is peace in the land, and thanks to the recently established Commercial Court, the business community is assured of speedy adjudication, should the need arise, to protect its investment,” he said.

President Kufuor praised Coca-Cola Company for its pragmatic way of doing business, adding that the company was among enterprises operating in the country in which the government was well pleased. He was also happy about the manner in which the company had kept faith with it social responsibility, especially with regard to the provision of schools for deprived communities and the cleaning of beaches and charged it to continue with its good work.

President Kufuor urged the company to use its capacity, resources and staff to further deepen its operations within the economy.

The Vice-President of Coca-Cola International responsible for the PAC Institute, Mr Clyde Tuggle, said the company had a bright future in Africa; considering the growth it had enjoyed and the economic opportunities that pertained on the continent.

He said Ghana was a “principled investment destination in Africa”, adding that Coca-Cola had invested about $22 million in the country and provided 815 jobs as of now.