20.09.2005 Business & Finance

54 new businesses registered in first quarter

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Accra, Sept. 20, GNA - The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) registered 54 new businesses, most of which were in the manufacturing sector in the first quarter of 2005 compared to 48 for the same period in 2004.

Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSI), attributed the development partly to increasing credit to the private sector relative to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) saying that at the end of June 2005 credit to the sector stood at 12.5 per cent of GDP.

He said the World Development Report in its latest Cost of Doing Business Report ranked Ghana at the 82nd position out of 155 countries as a good place for doing business compared to a ranking at 86 in the previous Report.

Mr Bartels, who was speaking at the Ministry's turn of the Meet the Press series, said while this might be below the Government's expectation, it represented a definite improvement in the country's business environment adding that this had been a direct result of a stronger pro-private sector policies developed by the Government. He said the same report further showed that while the procedures for starting a business in Ghana remained the same, the projected time taken to register a business would be reduced from 85 days in 2005 to 81 days in 2006.

Mr Bartels said some of the positive results due to the improvement in the business environment was the decision of MAERSK, a company in the transport business, would build a container Trans-Shipment Depot in Takoradi that would be the biggest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa.

WILMAR Group, another company, is also to put up the biggest edible oil refinery in Tema, apart from setting up a model Oil Palm Plantation in the Central Region covering about 52 sq. kilometres of land, the company would export almost all its products to the West African Sub-Region.

Mr Bartels noted that firms in Ghana had not been able to fully exploit the opportunities created to ensure growth since they were constrained in their ability to participate in markets because of weak competence and capacity.

He called on Ghanaians to invest in their businesses to expand production and to ensure that their products met international standards and to adopt up to date technology, management and marketing systems to enable them to take advantage of the improved environment. The Minister said the President's Special Initiative (PSI) was a key pillar of the Government's vision for the development of the Private Sector but noted that market reforms alone would not get Ghana to its destination.

He said four PSI areas; Cassava Starch; Oil Palm; Salt and Textiles and Garment were at present at various levels of implementation with Cassava Starch alone getting orders of more than 10,000 tonnes.

Mr Bartels said a consortium of three companies made up of Thai-German Processing Co Ltd; Supercare Limited and Safco Engineering were to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to set up three cassava-starch processing companies immediately at Atebubu, Amantin and Ejura.

Mr Bartels said the Ministry was established to harmonise all activities of the Private Sector and urged the business community to help to improve businesses and make them vibrant.

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