Accra, Dec. 6, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday expressed the determination of Government to reduce the time and cost of establishing businesses to make Ghana become more competitive as an investment destination.
To help to achieve this, efforts are being intensified to institute the Land Bank Project to reduce problems of land acquisition, which had been militating against the country's profile as an attractive investment destination.
Besides, the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) is working hard with other stakeholders to create the one-stop shop for establishing business while procedures to ensure faster clearance of goods are being streamlined with the Tema and Takoradi Ports undergoing re-organisation and improvement to reduce turn around time of ships. President Kufuor was speaking at the Seventh Edition of the Ghana Club 100 Award ceremony held at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The Ghana Club 100 Award is an initiative of the GIPC to acknowledge the best in terms of corporate governance. The criteria for selection include the fastest growing, profits and highest employing companies.
President Kufuor said when the Government on assumption of office in 2001 launched its Private Sector Development Programme to usher in the Golden Age of Business, "we wanted to tell the world that the returns on private investment are the just and legitimate reward for genuine hard-working companies and individuals.
"What we are seeing here is a vindication of Government's efforts," he said.
President Kufuor catalogued financial interventions introduced to inject vibrancy into the private sector and mentioned the establishment of the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), Social Investment Fund, Venture Capital Fund and Ghana Private Sector Development Fund (GPSDF), which is a joint Ghanaian-Italian Collaboration set up with a 10 million-Euro loan facility from the Italian Government.
He announced that the US Government's African Development Foundation had also increased its funding support to small and medium-scale enterprises from one million dollars a year to five million dollars, to be matched by the same amount from the Ghana Government. The Foundation has made a written commitment to raise the support to 10 million dollars a year from 2007.
The President spoke of efforts to highlight the tourism sector, the emerging potential, which, he said, tended to be slow in being exploited.
A legislative instrument to promote activities of the sector with appropriate incentives to attract investors would soon be promulgated. He said the objective was to ensure that "we generate investment to support the fast growing tourist industry".
President Kufuor asked members of the GC 100 to exhibit good corporate citizenship and identify with the country and its fortunes, saying that they should be sensitive to the development challenges facing the country, particularly, poverty, disease, illiteracy and the environment.
Nana Dr Susubribi Krobea Asante, Omanhene of Asokore Trditional Area and Chairman of Ghana Arbitration Centre, said a strong and vibrant domestic private sector was critical to the achievement of the country's development goals. Mr Paul Victor Obeng , Chairman of the Board of Directors of the GIPC, said the Centre was engaged in intensely targeted campaign to attract investment into the tourism sector.
Scancom Ghana Limited, Nestle Ghana Limited, Produce Buying Company (PBC), Fan Milk, Dziengoff Ghana Limited, Taysec Construction, Guinness Ghana Limited, Prudential Bank, Interplast and Maersk Ghana Limited were among the first 10 companies that were presented with their awards by President Kufuor.