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18.09.2005 Business & Finance

AGI sourcing for ¢50bn from financial institutions

By GNA

Tamale, Sept. 18, GNA - The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) is sourcing for 50 billion cedis from financial institutions to help revamp local industries.

This was announced by Mr. Prince Kofi Kludjeson, President of AGI in Tamale at a policy development workshop organised for members of the Association from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions and some stakeholders.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a Germany NGO involved in enhancing democracy in Ghana sponsored the two-day workshop. The forum was to discuss how to develop a strategy for the development of the three Northern Regions that invariably had been identified as having great potentials for food and cash crop production as well as agro-processing development.

Mr. Kludjeson said a significant majority of the enterprises used their own resources to start their businesses, and described it as a positive and consistent way of ensuring that entrepreneurs show commitment to the project they established.

He however, expressed regret that capital had been adjudged to be inadequate for operating and investment needs of the enterprises, saying, "when high level of commitment has been demonstrated by the entrepreneurs, fund from institutions and organizations are either non-existent or inadequate"

Mr. Kludjeson appealed to the government to put the 40 billion cedis capitation grant for the feeding of school children into purchasing locally produced rice to help put more money in the pockets of rice farmers and encourage them to undertake large-scale rice production to feed the nation and for export.

He therefore, called on the assemblies to pool resources, especially the use of the six per cent of their share of the common fund to help local industries as a measure to make them grow to support the country to advance in the manufacturing sector.

This would also help the government to save money that it would have been using to import equipment and machines, adding: "Let us encourage our industrialists to fight a common enemy" to ensure.

Mr. Kludjeson urged the government to use the Northern Region as the starting point for the implementation of its industrialized programmes.

He called on non-governmental organizations and donor countries to support industrialization programmes by providing the credit facilities and making available modern technologies to the local industrialists to enhance their operations.

Mr. Kludjeson, who visited some of the local industries at the Tamale Industrial Area, said he saw opportunities of the people who could create wealth, if supported.

He said he was more convinced that Ghana's industrialization programme would succeed if the resources were harnessed and made available to local industrialists to expand their operations. At the workshop was a locally manufactured hand-pumping machine from Goodman' Key Factory which could be installed in boreholes. The machine had been put to use in some of the boreholes in the region and had been found to be pumping more water from the boreholes than those imported. It is also easy to repair by the local people and it costs only 3.5 million cedis.

Mr. Kludjeson urged the government and other benevolent organizations to assist the factory to manufacture more of the machines for use at home and for export The AGI President appealed to the financial institutions and the District and Metropolitan Assemblies in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions to support local people to undertake guinea fowl poultry farming, adding, "this venture has the potentials of creating a global market for the country".

Incentive packages such as tax relief and holidays should be extended to cover local industrialists in the country to motivate them to expand their businesses.

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, urged AGI to focus on communication flow between the District Assemblies and the enterprises, especially in the areas of fees and levies fixing, training in other ventures, acquisition of raw materials and marketing as well as policy advocacy.

He noted that the negative perception that people outside the region have about the place, had worsened the plight of Northern Ghana. "People perceive the North as a conflict zone, prone to wars and violence and this sad state of affairs has greatly affected our fortunes because investors are scared away."

Alhaji Boniface assured investors that there was peace and security in the North and the business environment was conducive for investment.

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