February 2013 Newsletter - BUSAC

February 2013 Newsletter - BUSAC

February 2013 Newsletter - BUSAC


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BUSAC Fund News Nurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana BUSAC Fund News Nurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana2 3ASPFA GETS NEW SWEET POTATO VINE CENTREThe Agormanya Sweet Potato Farmers Association (ASPFA) is made up of sweet potato famers based inAgormanya, a small town in the Lower Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region. The association iscurrently made up of 170 members, with 70 of them being women. The association was formed in 2005with the objective of creating employment for the youth of Agormanya through the mass cultivation of sweetpotatoes. The group also has the objective of reducing post harvest losses within the catchment area and alsoproducing other non-traditional crops for export.One major problem that has plagued the group over the years is the perennial unavailability of quality vines(high yielding and disease free varieties) within the reach of farmers for cultivation during the cropping season.These vines act as the seed for potato production and without them farmers are unable to expand theirpotato farms. This problem made it virtually impossible for members of the association to produce sweet potatoeson a large scale to meet orders from processors, market traders and exporters, thereby denying farmers theopportunity to raise more incomes from their toil. In an attempt to solve this problem, the association saw theneed to embark on an advocacy programme to persuade the appropriate state authorities, such as the LowerManya Krobo District Assembly (LMKDA), and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to assist themA segment of the new sweet potato vine production centre at Akrusu, a farming community near Asesewa in the Eastern Regionin setting up a sweet potato vine production centre in Agormanya. Therefore in September 2011, the leadershipof ASPFA applied for an advocacy grant from the BUSAC Fund to enable them embark on an advocacy action,which was entitled “Curbing the Persistent Shortage of Quality Vines to Sustain Sweet Potato Cultivation inAgormanya”. Realizing the importance of small scale farmers for the Ghanaian economy, the BUSAC Fund,supported by DANIDA, USAID and the EU, approved a grant for ASPFA in 2011 to enable them embark on anadvocacy programme to help address the problem.The grant enabled the association to conduct a thorough research into the problem, thereby enabling themto better understand the issues underlying their problem, so that they can advocate with empirical evidence.Members of ASPFA also underwent training on “why and how to advocate” to enable them play an active roleFEBRUARY, 2013 FEBRUARY, 2013

BUSAC Fund News Nurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana BUSAC Fund News Nurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana8 9THE KIND OF ALLY THE PRIVATE SECTOR WANTSPrivate sector groups in the country have calledon President John Mahama to fully implementhis promise to be an ally of the sector by creatinga low cost business environment to make enterprisescompetitive in the global market place.The business community said by being a good ally ofthe sector, they did not expect the President to givethem hand-outs per se, but it can use several channelsand strategies such as public procurement, directcredit and macroeconomic environment in which interestand exchange rates were stable to grow the privatesector.That partnership with the private sector would createjobs, prevent capital flight and ensure real sustainableeconomic growth in the country.“It’s a welcoming news, especially considering that thePresident has on various fora expressed similar interestto work with the private sector and we are satisfiedwith his intensions,” the Executive Director of the Associationof Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr Seth TwumAkwaboah, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.The President during the Presidential Debate organisedby the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) madethe assertion and during his policy statement as caretakerPresident also alluded to his willingness to workwith the private sector.The AGI president said partnership with the privatesector was the best way to move the economy forwardin a sustainable way, as that would lead to job creationand economic development.The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana NationalChamber of Commerce (GNCC), Mr. Samuel AkwasiSarpong, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interviewthat the chamber had high hopes and would expectthe President to deliver on his promise.“The President, even before his election had formedan advisory council of which the GNCC is a member,”he said.Mr. Sarpong was of the view that the formation of theMr. Seth Twum Akwaboah, Executive Director of AGIcouncil is a clear indication of the value the Presidentplaced on the private sector and “we expect nothingbut action to walk the talk”.THE INAUGURAL SPEECHIn his inaugural address to the nation as the fourthPresident of the Fourth Republic, President Mahamasaid “Ghana should, and will, be a place where economicopportunities are available to everyone”.He stressed that “I recognise the vital role that ourprivate sector, especially small and indigenous businessesplay in the expansion of our workforce as wellas in the growth and stability of our economy”.President Mahama further gave the assurance that hewill be an ally to the business community adding that“I will extend whatever support I am able to reinforceyour contributions to our development”.ROLE OF GOVERNMENTThe manufacturing sector believes that the governmentshould come in the form of creating a good businessenvironment to reduce the cost of doing businessand make the prices of locally produced items competitivein the global market place.“Making the prices of products competitive is the onlyway to make the manufacturing sector and the generalprivate sector sustainable, as banks and and subsidiescannot be sustained,” Mr Akwaboah explained.Another way to reduce the cost of doing business is todo an audit of the industrial value chain and encouragethe local production of some of the raw materialsand intermediary goods.LOCAL CONTENTTo that end, the private sector wants all energies andefforts channelled to realising a true local contentpolicy implementation in various sectors. Theseinclude oil and gas, mining, housing, energy generationand transportation, especially domestic aviation.Mr Sarpong argued that for the country’s foreign exchangeto stabilise there was the need for industries inthe country to grow to produce to meet internationalstandards and export to bring in the foreign exchange.Mr. Akwaboah said one grey area was for the PresidentMahama administration to explore the strategicuse of government procurement to grow the privatesector.To this end, there is good news for the sector becausethe Public Procurement law has been amended to encouragemargin of preference for the benefit of tendersfor work done by domestic contractors.The Chief Executive Officer of the Public ProcurementAuthority (PPA), Mr Sellas Mensah, last Decemberpresented the draft amendments to the Ministerof Finance and Economic Planning for onwardpresentation to Cabinet and Parliament.ENERGYAnother expectation of the manufacturing sector isthe provision of a reliable regular supply of energyat affordable prices. The AGI executive director saidproduction costs were being padded with the currentpower tariff arrangement under which tariffs paid byindustry subsidises residential tariffs; a phenomenonhe said did not augur well for promoting industry,saying “each segment must fully pay for what theyconsume.”ACCESS TO FINANCEGrowing the private sector requires a lot of financing,particularly medium- to long-term credit and capitaland the AGI wants the president to champion measregimeand drive down the cost of borrowing.“The manufacturing sector needs to get cheaper creditto spur growth. The economy can grow, but withoutthe contribution of the manufacturing sector theeconomy will be volatile and susceptible to externalshocks,” Mr Akwaboah stated.DIALOGUEPrivate sector players are satisfied with existing dialoguechannels that exists between the government,its agencies and actors and the private sector, underpinnedby regular meetings and consultations.However, the AGI which is represented on the privatesector council wants speedy implementation of policiesand programmes meant to inure to the benefit ofthe private sector. For example, although the IndustrialPolicy and the Private Sector Development Strategywas developed somewhere in 2010, it was only inthe latter part of 2012 that the Private Sector AdvisoryCouncil was set up and chaired by the Vice President.“What we expect is a deepening of the dialogue andconsultative process that is already in place and thespeedy implementation of agreed policies and programmes,”Mr Akwaboah said.He added that “in the past, relations have been verysmooth, but sometimes implementation delays andthis can hamper good intentions.”For the chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce,the chamber expected the various government Ministriesand Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to workmore closely with the private sector since they wouldbe acting on behalf of the President who would set theagenda for them.Mr. Sarpong said the chamber would make a quarterlyassessment of the President’s promise and report onprogress, adding “We will also offer our advice wherenecessary and expect the government to act quicklywhen issues concerning the sector were brought totheir attention.”Story: Charles Benoni Okine & Samuel Doe Ablordeppey,Graphic Business, 15 January, 2013.FEBRUARY, 2013 FEBRUARY, 2013

BUSAC Fund News Nurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana BUSAC Fund NewsNurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana14 15SHEA FARMERS ADVOCATE FOR GOOD POLICIESThe Coordinator of the Nadowli District CooperativeFarmers, Mr. Augustine Sandow Ambotimah,has said the absence of a policy toregulate the activities of the shea industry is the majorhindrance to investment in the sector. He made thestatement during a stakeholders’ forum in Wa.Mr. Ambotimah said other concerns are the absenceof a guaranteed price for shea nut, the absence of aShea Board (SHEABOD) for the industry and thenon-enforcement of bush fire by-laws.He appealed to actors in the industry to focus onconsensus building, galvanizing support from grassroot organisations and lobbying District Assembliesand Traditional Rulers for the enforcement of antibush burning by-laws among others.Mr. Iddi Zakaria, the National Coordinator of SheaHe said the objective of the Nadowli District CooperativeMulti-purpose Farmers and Marketing SocietyLimited was to facilitate the development of a regulatoryframework to guide investment in the sector.He said although laudable efforts were being made bythe government, COCOBOD and the private sectorto create factories to process the nut into butter, thefuture of the raw material base for this enlargementwas limited.Mr. Gabriel Fiatui, a Private Sector Advocacy Consultant,said due to the unattractiveness of the sectorto investors, the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge(BUSAC) Fund was providing support for the privatesector to embark on advocacy activities to draw thegovernment’s attention to the plight of the sector.He said available records show that only 40 per centof shea nuts were collected in the country with 60 percent wasting in the bush.Mr. Fiatui attributed this low collection to a numberof constraints including lack of conservation practice,organizational constraints for collectors, limited accessto capital for women, lack of farm-to-home carriageas well as low domestic commercial demand.Stakeholders in the shea sector are calling for policies to regulateactivities in the sectorNetwork Ghana (SNG), said through the effort of theNetwork and other organisations such as SNV, governmenthad established a Shea Steering Committeeand was looking forward to setting up a SHEABOD.He also called for the amendment of the Cocoa Act toprotect the activities of the industry.Source: GNA, 24th February, 2013.FEBRUARY, 2013 FEBRUARY, 2013

16BUSAC Fund News Nurturing the Growth of Business Advocacy in Ghana***********************ISSUED BY THE BUSAC FUNDEditor: Ms. Laurencia TetteyDesigned by: Mr. Ebenezer KpenteyEmail: contact@busac.org20/02/2013FEBRUARY, 2013

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