Dr Toni Aubynn, Head of Corporate Affairs Department of Tullow-Ghana, has stated that the company had expended US$194 million dollars on local companies and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to improve their capacity and competitiveness.
He said 1,035 local companies benefitted from the package with US$18 million dollars expended on local enterprises that had employed over 1000 workers in the country.
He said Tullow-Ghana was committed towards the local content policy on petroleum industry and would therefore work and support indigenous companies to stand on their feet.
Dr Aubynn, who chaired the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) roundtable discussion in Takoradi on Friday on the Implementation of the AGI SME Regional Action Plan, urged indigenous companies to position themselves well to utilize the opportunities in the oil and gas sector.
He indicated that, the company had established Local Content Unit for local content development and had already supported the training of indigenous companies’ employees to take advantage of the petroleum industry.
“Tullow-Ghana is committed towards its vision of promoting Small and Medium Enterprises in Ghana and we believe in creating wealth-shared responsibility,” he added.
He indicated that, the country’s quest for socio-economic development would be elusive if industries were not supported and therefore entreated all stakeholders to support SMEs to be vibrant.
Dr Aubynn challenged SMEs in the country to venture into high quality vegetable production since it had high market potentials.
The Corporate Affairs Manager of Tullow lauded AGI for being the voice of the local enterprises as well as taken step to engage policy-makers to discuss how to deal with the challenges confronting them.
He wondered why the Western Region is in the midst of many natural resources whilst poverty was endemic and therefore entreated businesses to take advantage of the available resources to extricate poverty from the Region.
Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, said Government was concerned about high interest rate charged by banks and appealed to them to consider reducing the rates to bring some relief to local enterprises and consumers.
On infrastructure development in the Region, he said, the government was reconstructing many major road networks across the Region to enhance business operations.
“The rehabilitation and expansion of water supply system is on the drawing board. This project will cover Aboso, Bogoso, Elubo, Axim and Prestea communities, “he added.
The Sekondi-Takoradi water supply system would be expanded under the GWLC/AVRL signed memorandum with a Chinese firm, adding the project shall increase the supply of water from 6 to 28 million gallons per day from Daboase head works to the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolis, he stated.
Mr Aidoo stressed that, these were some of the few interventions the government was putting in place to enhance industrial development and expansion.
In a speech read for him, the President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Nana Owusu-Afari, said the AGI had a stake in SMEs development since it employed about 85% of the overall workforce in the country.
He added that, the SMEs contributed six per cent towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and noted that the meagre percentage to the GDP was because of little value-addition in the manufacturing processes.
The AGI President noted that the Public-Private Partnership, a key component of the SME Agenda, was a strategic option for implementing the solutions to the socio-economic challenges faced by the local enterprises.
He said the AGI initiated a participatory process about two years ago to address the challenges stifling the growth of SMEs in the country and that, the process culminated in the formation of the SME Agenda, which comprised the SME Policy, Charter and Regional Action Plans.
He noted that, the SME Agenda had been incorporated into the Ghana Industrial Policy and the Private Sector Development Strategy Phase II that would enhance the business environment for SMEs in the country.