Let us improve our service to business – Trade minister

Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, has called on public and civil servants to improve on their performances in serving the business community in order to attract investors.

“Everywhere you go overseas there are hundreds of serious companies interested in investing in Ghana, but the rate at which things are done in processing investors’ documents at a very slow pace discourages many of them — and we must all do something about it” he said.

Mr. Spio-Garbrah made this known when the Italian Ambassador, Laura Carpini, paid him a visit at his office recently.

On the cumbersome procedure that beneficiaries of the Italian funds go through, the minister called for a solution to the requirement of collateral or bank guarantees by the commercial banks to enable more people access this facility.

In proper project finance, the asset of the enterprise that is receiving the loan is considered as adequate collateral. However, because most commercial banks do not practice standard project finance they tend to seek a wide range of security and collateral, which often makes some transactions unbankable, the minister said.

The minister appealed to the Ambassador to help in his call for a war on domestic interest rates, which are inimical to private sector growth. He said Ghana will welcome any International bank that supports this effort to bring interest rates down by granting lower interest loans so Ghanaian entrepreneurs can develop a vibrant private sector.

In her remarks, the Italian Ambassador said there is a lot that both countries need to work on to foster their bilateral relationship.

Already, Italy imports a lot from Ghana — especially petroleum and other products — and sectors must be exploited for the benefit of both countries, the Ambassador said.

source : B&FT