Takoradi, Nov. 2, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Fisheries, on Wednesday proposed the establishment of a comprehensive strategy to link the country's income and export needs with national development requirements.
She made the proposal when commissioning the banking hall of the Takoradi Branch of the National Investment Bank (NIB) at Takoradi. Most Right Reverend John Martin Darko, Catholic Bishop for the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, dedicated the hall.
Mrs Asmah said the strategy would stimulate a more vigorous and private sector growth for recovery, stabilization and investments". She said a strong and viable economic base would guarantee the development of the nation and strengthen the economy.
This, she held, could only happen "If we are able to ensure that our exports are partly or fully processed as a initial step". Mrs Asmah said, "In so doing, Western Region would not only be opened up but will also provide opportunities for the much-needed employment, which will improve the lives of the ordinary people". She said there had been reports that for the past weeks, many articulated trucks had been going back without off-loading their cargo of cocoa due to high levels of congestions at cocoa sheds at Takoradi harbour.
Mrs Asmah said with cocoa production rising each year, it is necessary to provide adequate facilities at the harbour to meet increasing demand for port facilities.
She expressed the hope that the bank would devise new and interesting products to encourage people to transact business with it. She suggested to the bank, to extend their service to cover "Susu" operators and groups to mop up excess liquidity in the trading system.
Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, said the government had taken concrete steps to support the private sector to grow.
He asked the NIB to be a key player in enhancing private sector performance and growth.
Dr Charles Jebuni, Chairman of the Board of Directors of NIB, said since August 2001 when the board took over the administration of the bank, seven new branches have been opened bringing the total number to eighteen.
He said existing branches were being strengthened to bring them at par with current trends in industry.
Mr Daniel Gyimah, Managing Director of NIB, said the bank was poised to boost industry and economic activities in Sekondi-Takoradi by focusing lending activities on food security, the hospitality industry, manufacturing and the building and construction industry. Mr Gyimah said the bank would support economic activities at the Takoradi Harbour when it assumes a Free Port status to enable it become the first choice for investors in the sub-region.