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The Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. KT Hammond, has bemoaned the fact that the private sector has not been able to take up its space as a champion of economic development in Ghana.

In this vein, he commended the Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogues as driving the agenda in putting the private sector in their rightful place as changemakers and leaders of national development.

“There is not a single country in this world that has transformed or developed its economy without massive transformation in its industrial base. That is why at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, we realize the absolute responsibility on us to put in place, together with the other stakeholders in the economy, the level playing field and the proper policies for the private sector to thrive” he said when the Ministry of Finance and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group held the inaugural Ghana Mutual Prosperity Dialogues in Accra.

In his keynote address, Minister for Finance, Mr. Ofori Atta acknowledged the importance of dialoging and assured of frequent engagement and conversation to achieve economic change in Ghana.

“It is our expectation that this will fundamentally shape and converge our efforts on what is necessary in terms of plans, policies, programmes and timelines to accelerate the time and turnaround to transform the business landscape for entrepreneurs” he added.

The Minister gave a brief on the economy and announced that the country was on track to beat the 2023 revised growth target of 1.5% and was also optimistic the IMF Board will approve the next tranche of funds of the IMF PC-PEG programme.

The dialogue brought together captains of industry and government officials with the main aim of focusing on how to make the private sector thrive, attract more investment into the country and create jobs for Ghanaians.

Mr. Kyle KelhoferSenior Country Manager, IFC, reiterated the importance of both public and private enterprises to have synergy and the role that the IFC has played in Ghana’s economy over the last decade.

“In Ghana, over the past decade IFC has brought nearly $2 billion in investment – in infrastructure, agribusiness, financial institutions, manufacturing, healthcare, and more.  This is in addition to our active advisory and technical assistance programmes to both businesses and Government in Ghana”.

He expressed the hope that the forum will lead to an increase in business confidence in Government, bring more clarity in government policies and commitment and sustained consultation of private sector in formulating policies.

President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Seth Twum Akwaboah applauded the all-inclusive approach that the forum provides to private enterprises. Adding that Ghanaian businesses were looking for viable partnerships that will result in investment in the productive sector, and to leverage opportunities within bigger markets like AfCFTA.

“We are happy to note that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry affirm government’s decision to embark on an effort to increase local production, also as an import substitution strategy which has a direct bearing on forex, job creation and improved livelihoods” he noted.

Sharing his perspectives on how to create jobs and prosperity within the tourism and creative arts sector, Minister for Tourism and Creative Arts, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal touched on the prospects of tourism and creative arts on the economy.

“We want to move tourism from number three contributor to GDP, to number one by 2025 in Ghana. The sector is very viable and rich” he noted and called on the private sector to come on board to make this a reality.

Giving the closing remarks, Minister for Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah described the forum as refreshing and commended the Ministry of Finance, the IFC and all other major stakeholders for putting together a gathering that discussed such pertinent issues, necessary for national development.

“It is refreshing to have captains of industry and regulators in one room, having a no hold barred conversation, in which the policy makers are reflecting on the direction that they want to go, and operators are giving feedback on the challenges that they are facing. A conversation where you can see real commitment to have some resolution”.