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31.03.2006 Business & Finance

Bi-Annual Investment Advisory Council meeting opens

By GNA

Akosombo (E/R), March 31, GNA - The Seventh Bi-Annual Ghana Investment Advisory Council (GIAC) meeting opened at Akosombo on Friday to evaluate progress made on valuable recommendations to government by leading businesspersons last year.

The Economic Think-Tank meeting serves as a business platform for the President to interact with a small informal group of high-level, leading local and international business experts to deliberate on investment strategies government could adopt to boost the economy. The Akosombo Meeting, which was chaired by President John Agyekum Kufuor, would deliberate on reforms in the financial sector, public service, land sector, agricultural and agric-business sector and the labour sector.

It also seeks to provide a feedback module for government on current policy reform and its impact on the investor climate, identify priority areas for change or improvement and suggest solutions based on practical investor experience.

Additionally, it provided input to help shape future policy affecting business in Ghana as well as business opportunities for the global market.

In a welcoming address, the Minister for Private Sector Development and PSIs, Mr Kwamena Bartels said World Bank business indicators on doing business in Africa and the sub-region had provided the government with a timely insight of global, continental and regional rankings regarding the ease of doing business in the country.

According to the report Ghana is ranked as the first country to consider for doing business in West Africa and had developed the necessary mechanism for enforcing business contracts as well as the legal ability to protect investors' interest in the sub-region. Ghana is ranked second in the sub-region in terms of issues concerning business licenses, hiring and firing of human resources, and closing a business, ranked fourth in business registration and access to credit facilities.

Mr Bartels assured the economic think tanks that in spite of the appreciable position of Ghana on the rankings, the World Bank identified some level of shortfalls, which the government integrated into both the Composite Work Plan 2006 as well as the Private Sector Development Strategy, the Trade Policy and Trade Sector Support Programme. He said; "we would implement these recommendations in order to consolidate and improve our position as the preferred destination for doing business in West Africa."

He said government had also initiated moves to transform the nation into a Regional Financial Sector with diverse growth poles, including a vibrant Information Technology Communication Technology industry with a modernized agricultural sector.

Mr Bartels reiterated government's commitment to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to grow. The Ministers of Finance, Public sector Reforms, Lands, Agriculture and Labour are expected to account for their progress in implementing key reforms recommended by the council. 31 March 06

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