BUSAC Fund draws to a close with US$48m invested

Nicholas Gebara, BUSAC Fund Manager

… Agric received most funds followed by services   

The Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund has drawn down its curtain in Ghana as an estimated amount of US$48 million has been invested to strengthen the advocacy capacity of private sector business groups and associations in the country for the past 16 years.

Between 2004 and 2020, the fund provided over 1,100 business advocacy grants to Private Sector Organisations (PSOs) and Farmer Based Organisations (FBOs) in all the 16 regions of Ghana. Grants worth US$48 million were issued under all three phases of the programme. Agriculture had 45 percent of the funds while Service and Industry utilized 36 percent and 19 percent respectively.

Supported by DANIDA (the lead Development Partner), USAID and DFID, the first phase of the programme run from 2004 to February 2010, during which the Fund provided a total of 362 advocacy grants to various business groups and associations within the 16 regions of the country.

The second phase run from March 2010 to June 2016, during which the Fund provided 435 advocacy grants. The third phase of the BUSAC Fund (BUSAC III) builds upon the experiences gained from its predecessors (BUSAC I & II) and further improved the business environment in the country to facilitate private sector growth.

Under BUSAC Fund III, which was implemented from July 2016 to December 2020, special attention was given to legal and rights-based challenges within the broader range of sustainable agriculture and energy as well as the facilitation of private-public sector policy dialogue to help improve the Ghanaian business environment.

Speaking at the End of Project Events, the Fund Manager Nicholas Gebara said: “Over the years, we are happy to note that the support provided to business associations has developed their capacity to sustain policy dialogue at national and district levels. We are proud that our success stems from the fruitful dialogue between private sector organisations and the various ministries in particular the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI).

Throughout its lifetime, the Fund has received numerous acknowledgements of the relevance and contribution of our support by the Government of Ghana in particular the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) with whom we had close collaborations in the development of policies aimed at enhancing the business environment for private sector growth in Ghana.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan in her remarks at the event said that: “By strengthening the abilities of local organizations to advocate for the equitable administration of services in their communities, BUSAC has helped to increase jobs and improve livelihoods. The government also benefits from this arrangement by creating conditions for investors to enter those areas and bolster Ghana’s economic growth.

After all, investors make decisions based on conditions they see on the ground. Then they vote with their feet. Helping each other arrive at the same destination of self-reliance will build Ghana’s prosperity and cement trust between the government, and its citizens and businesses.”

Key national policies and bills supported by BUSAC Fund

Some of the policies and bills the fund has supported in drafting and enacting include the Engineering Council Act, 2011 (Act 819) passed in May 2011; The Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992) was passed in May 2019; National Road Safety Authority Bill was passed in August 2019; Transformation of NBSSI into Ghana Enterprise Agency as an authority on November 3, 2020 by the Parliament of Ghana

Tree Crop Development Authority Bill was passed in December 2019; The President inaugurated the Authority on Tuesday, 29th September 2020 in Kumasi; Corporate Insolvency Bill passed into law on April 1, 2020; Real Estate Bill passed into law on 27 October, 2020.

BUSAC III contribution towards aid to trade agenda

Over the years, the BUSAC Fund has provided support to private sector business associations to dialogue with government on enhancing the business environment to facilitate trade. Below are some of the key achievements from the support:

Removal of taxes imposed on capital inflows from abroad to both foreign and local investors meant to enhance working capital. Ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2017. It is estimated that the full implementation of TFA could reduce costs by an average of 14.3 per cent and boost global trade by up to US$1 trillion per year.

Review of multiple taxes levied on private sector businesses in 2017. The establishment of a traceability policy to create a database for tropical foods cultivation. The system allows buyers of Ghanaian export crops to verify documentation from their respective producers.

Implementation of the duty drawback payment system in Ghana. Streamlining of the roles of port agencies and institutions to eliminate the overlapping and duplication of functions at the ports in 2018.

A study on local content to determine Ghana’s readiness for more local content. The study recommended the need to ascertain the existence of adequate capacity that can converge with local participation requirements before such requirements are set. There is also the need for a long-term development strategy that will streamline the application of local content to mitigate uncertainties for foreign investors.

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