The Executive Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies, Joseph Siaw Agyepong, has said that the One District, One Factory initiative of the current administration has the potential of turning Ghana’s fortunes around by creating wealth and sustainable jobs.
He called for more support from government for indigenous private businesses to collaborate with local authorities for the selection and efficient execution of the initiative to the benefit of communities and private sector growth.
Mr. Siaw Agyepong made this observation on the second day of the 69th annual New Year School and Conference at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon, on Tuesday.
This year’s New Year School’s theme is ‘Job Creation for Accelerated National Development: The Role of the Private Sector’, and it was organised by the School of Continuing and Distance Education of the University of Ghana, Legon.
He said efforts aimed at creating jobs should not be focused on the formal sector only: “The informal sector has the potential to generate a good number of jobs. The essential need is to exert some direction and control in this sector,” he added.
Dr. Agyepong bemoaned the politicisation of businesses, which usually occurs after a change of government, and said the practice of especially colouring private business politically is unhealthy.
In addressing this, he stressed the need for successive governments to ensure continuity of businesses to promote growth of local entrepreneurs.
Using the Zoomlion example, Dr. Siaw Agyepong enumerated its various achievement since establishment in 2006 to manage waste in the country and create jobs for thousands of Ghanaians, and called for the protection of local industries.
Speaking on the topic ‘Private Sector Participation in Local Governance for Job Creation’, the Zoomlion boss called for more collaboration to enable local private companies to undertake government projects.
He commended successive governments for their efforts at reducing unemployment, but urged that more effort must be put into the talk to make it a reality.
He said Jospong Group of Companies has collaborated with the public sector in areas including waste management, sanitation, environmental hygiene, and agro-based industrialisation among others to create jobs.
Against this backdrop, Dr. Siaw Agyapong affirmed his Group’s commitment to continue collaborating with local government authorities to create jobs for the teeming youth in the country. In the Zoomlion boss’s estimation, there is equally a need for government to promote sustainable partnership arrangements that engage and empower the private sector
“Leveraging our investments in the local government sector to sustain continuous and inclusive development at the grassroots level is key,”, he noted.
These partnership models that will be created, he suggested, should subsist “our political and governance cycles; and Ghanaian entrepreneurs on their part should exhibit a high level of professionalism so that they are not unduly branded.
“Emphasis on local content is key, empowering indigenous Ghanaian companies is key; local collaboration to undertake government projects should be encouraged, and stimulus packages to local private sector should be implemented.
“…I believe we are on the right track, and as a Group of Companies we will do our best to support government create sustainable jobs. Indeed, we have the skills set to continue on that path.
“All that we in the Private Sector have to do is to continually re-examine our business creating models for the mutual benefit of both the public and the private sectors.
“When this is done we will be placed on the right track to creating jobs and entrepreneurial skills that help harness the powerful potential of creativity in our teeming youth,” Dr. Agyepong pointed out.
The session was chaired by Dr. Nana Ato Arthur, Head of the Local Government Service.