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31.01.2006 Business & Finance

Government will stay out of business - Kufuor


Accra, Jan. 31, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday stressed that government's declared policy to stay out of business did not preclude intervention or even direct involvement to best serve the national interest.

He said such national sentiments had been at the forefront of government's involvement in resuscitating VALCO in order to leverage partnerships with world-class businesses to come to the country. "The same objective is leading government to intervene in Ghana Telecom and Juapong Textiles Limited to safeguard national interest," he said.

President Kufuor who was delivering the State of the Nation address in Parliament said government would cut back its involvement as the economy became stronger through the flotation of shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange to enable the citizens to acquire them. On the private sector, President Kufuor said the sector was being given all the assistance and encouragement to become the main engine to drive the economy.

He said all key problems relating to finance and identification were being addressed through pragmatic government policies and interventions.

In this direction, he announced that the contract for the national identification programme was to be awarded soon after an international competitive bidding and the completion of the groundwork. The President said the identification programme would help deal with the nagging problem of identification of operators in the informal sector.

Besides, the problem of long-term finance for business was being dealt with through the Venture Capital Fund and Export Development Fund while a micro loan scheme was in place throughout the country. President Kufuor said the time for registering a business had been significantly reduced with government aiming for a one-stop registration centre as the ultimate goal.

Government, he said, was enhancing export promotion drive through the Ghana Investment Promotion Council and the Export Processing Zones as well as promotion of Made in Ghana Goods as a way of expanding opportunities for local business.