President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday said if Ghana should succeed, it would be a function of a strong, creative and innovative private sector. He said his government’s policy for the country’s growth and development was geared at creating a good business environment that would enable the private sector to flourish.
“That is why we are putting all our cards in that particular basket. We want, therefore, to do all we can to create a good business climate for investors like yourself, not just for you to feel secure but also for you to be able to do good business,” President Akufo-Addo said when the Managing Director(MD) of Guinness Ghana Limited (GGL), Mr Francis Agbonlahor called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
Mr Agbonlahor was at the Presidency to congratulate the President and the people of Ghana on the successful election of 2016, and also the 60th Independence anniversary celebration. President Akufo-Addo told the Guinness MD that “we are here (in government) because for some time, our economy was not performing well. So, the Ghanaian people decided they needed a change in direction, and a change in the leadership of the nation in order to revive our economy and put Ghana to the road of progress and prosperity. That is why I am sitting here”.
He applauded the company’s decision to expand its operations into the ECOWAS market, stressing: “I believe that the future of our country is intimately tied up to the regional market that ECOWAS represents.
“It is good to see Ghanaian companies taking advantage of the possibilities of the ECOWAS market. I am also happy about the use of local raw materials in your operations. This is extremely positive news.”
The President continued: “We want to work together with business so as to develop our country. We are not in the business of business. You are not going to have competition from us. Ours is to govern and provide the regulatory framework and policy framework that will allow you to do business. You have in us honest and loyal interlocutors who are trying to promote business.”
He expressed happiness about the involvement of GGL’s 50 year involvement in the development of the country. Mr Agbonlahor pledged his company’s support for government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme. He said it would boost the use of local raw materials by manufacturing companies, and at the same time help to create jobs for thousands of Ghanaians.
According to him, the company made a key decision some five years ago to use local raw materials for the production of its beverages. Within a four- year period, the company had increased its use of local raw materials from 12 per cent to the current level of 48 per cent. He said it was in this vein that Guinness Ghana was excited by government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, as it seeks to increase the use of local raw materials for its production to 80 per cent by 2020.
With two branches in Achimota and Kumasi, and having invested some $50 million in expanding its productive capacity in the last four years, the Guinness MD noted that the company had also invested heavily in training farmers in planting schemes and farming methods so as to increase their yields.
He also disclosed that the brewery was also exporting its products to neighbouring West African countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Togo, and is looking forward to expand exports to other countries in the region.
On the company’s corporate social responsibility, Mr Agbonlahor told the President that Guinness Ghana had initiated schemes, which had provided potable drinking water to some 600,000 Ghanaians, and would soon inaugurate a project at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, which would provide water to 35,000 people.
The Guinness MD, in concluding, appealed to government to take a second look at reintroducing the “4-tier system”, which would see companies, who use local raw materials in their production activities, benefitting from excise duty concessions.