Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged the private sector to spearhead socioeconomic transformation in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“Sometimes in fact, many times, governments are too slow. Let the private sector lead the way to catalyse our social economic transformation to improve the business environment, the opportunities for job creation,” Vice President Bawumia remarked on Thursday at the opening of the Ghana Nigeria (Ghangeria) Rising 2018 Conference in Accra.
The event was on the theme: “Harnessing the Business Opportunities in Ghana and Nigeria to Accelerate Inclusive Economic Growth and Development.”
The Ghangeria Conference brought together key investors, businessmen and women, promoters and facilitators, policy makers and regulators, to discuss trade, business and investment opportunities between the two countries, focusing on the experiences, opportunities and the challenges in the agribusiness, banking and finance, oil, power and gas, and information, communication and technology (ICT) sectors of the two countries.
The Vice President said Ghana and Nigeria represented a significant proportion of the economy and population of ECOWAS.
He called for leveraging of the use of resources in each country and the sub-region; stating that “there is no reason that Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea for example, can’t cooperate fully to develop an integrated aluminium industry using energy from Nigeria to drive the processing of bauxite from Ghana and Guinea and to use the alumina to feed the Ghana’s aluminium smelter?”.
“It’s so with bauxite, as it is so with iron ore, energy resources, fertilizer production and agro processing.”
He said Ghana and Nigeria could cooperate to increase their competiveness in the sub-region and to maximise the opportunities that existed for business in an expanded ECOWAS market.
He said economic development concepts of the two countries embraced the private sector development as the cornerstone of economic and sustainable development.
He noted that both governments of Ghana and Nigeria strongly believe that support to the private enterprise was surest and most sustainable means of national economic and social development.
He said the economies and policies of the two countries must continue to support the entrepreneurial efforts of their people.
“This gathering represents to us the assembly of a diversify community, and it is expected to enable us learn at first hand, the initiatives of both countries, to address the barriers to trade, business and investments and propose pragmatic ways to address them together with the business community,” he said.
“We have the opportunity to provide our governments with the necessary feedback and innovative ideas to improve the policy and support environment for business and investment in our two countries,” he added.
Vice President Bawumia said Ghana and Nigeria had the opportunity to change their development paradigm through such engagements by the private sector, innovative thinking, cooperation and leveraging resources for growth.
He said the Government of Ghana had initiated many policies and project aimed at improving the business environment and offering direct support for businesses to thrive.
“We have as our main goal, in moving ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, the main goal therefore is to make Ghana the most business friendly economy in Africa, and we have been working at this very strongly over the last year, this why you have seen major macro-economic stability taking place in Ghana,” he said.
He said Government was working continuously to improve Ghana’s taxation policy to free additional working capital for businesses and to provide relive to consumers.
He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry was working with banks and international finances to mobilise the necessary financial support for the implementation of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme; which was a private sector initiative with the Government facilitating.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said Ghana was committed to the implementation of all ECOWAS protocols, especially that on the free movement of persons and goods.
Mr Larry Attipoe, Chief Executive Officer, Indegene Associates Limited, said the conference, which would be an annual event, alternating between Ghana and Nigeria, was the birth of a platform for continuous conversation by Ghanaian and Nigerian businessmen and women about business opportunities, practices and challenges in both countries.
Mr Olufemi Michael Abikoye, Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, called for the integration of businesses between the two countries.