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01.02.2006 Regional News

Human resource and agriculture crucial to devt

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Accra, Feb. 1, GNA - Mr Moses Dani Baah, Deputy Minister of Private Sector Development and Presidential Special Initiative, on Wednesday said the development of country's human resource base and the agricultural sector was a necessary pre-requisite to the attainment of middle-income status.

He said while agriculture was the fastest growing sector of the economy, an educated workforce with the requisite skills was most important for the growth of any nation.

Mr Baah was speaking at the press launch of the Independent Ghana Lectures in Accra under the theme: "Opportunistic Business Encounter in Independent Ghana-Untapped Resource Base."

Recounting the declaration by President John Agyekum Kufuor of the Golden Age of Business in 2001 through micro-economic stability, human resource development, private sector led growth and good governance, he said without micro-economic stability, the Government and the fledgling economic sector would not succeed.

"Companies that exist in stable environments which are staffed by qualified people are competitive and successful and can afford to hire more people. This has a clear impact on unemployment and poverty reduction."

The Deputy Minister said a people emboldened economically were better equipped to take charge of their lives and to demand social justice, which formed the key to good governance.

Mr Baah said about 80 per cent of private sector operators were micro, small and medium scale enterprises, which could not grow to compete globally.

He said the Ministry had established a Business Development Services Unit to transfer skills and knowledge to private sector associations and individuals, as a way of promoting a more vibrant and competitive private sector.

Mr Baah said the Ministry was working with 17 other Ministries, Departments and Agencies to address challenges of the private sector such as a conducive legal and regulatory environment, affordable credit and access to land.

He said a time bound; fully costed composite work programme containing reforms and initiatives underway towards private sector growth was soon to be presented to the private sector, the entire country as well as development partners.

Touching on the agricultural sector, he noted that even at its rudimentary stage, the sector contributed more than a third to the country's Gross Domestic Product.

"If more than 60 per cent of our population is already involved in agriculture, modernizing the industry, improving methods of production, introducing agro-processing and accelerating our marketing techniques will have an immediate impact on our economy and people." The Deputy Minister observed that after 49 years of independence, the focus towards a bright future was now clearer and the targets more realistic.

"We must unlock the reserves of energy and initiative in the youth and in the private sector to transform our agriculture to provide the social justice and wealth that would truly affirm our status - the first Sub-Saharan country to gain independence," he said. The Independent Ghana Lectures is an initiative of IT Media Concepts.