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Ghana?s multi-challenged private sector needs to speedily develop medium-sized enterprises if it is to thrive and power the national economy, the chairman of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) has said.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Duah, CEO of the Association of Oil Marketing Companies, who was elected June, 29, as chairman of the newly constituted 13-member Governing Council of PEF, intimated his primary focus, over his three years tenure, would be to bridge the ever-widening gap between the myriad small-scale operators and the minuscule large business sector in an exclusive with the Graphic Business.

?As the private sector gains clout, as evidenced by the improved membership of PEF, we?re focused on having interactions and collectively addressing our challenges so that we can have the situation where many more of our start-ups and small businesses have the opportunity to grow and not die.

?We aim to get many more small scale businesses graduate into the middle and some from the middle to the top, and then we will have an industry akin to what you find in advanced countries,? Agyemang-Duah explained.

He noted that industries are going down; that they?re not getting raw materials and, ?things are expensive, power is not available, credit lines are choked and everything is difficult and businesses are static so PEF?s efforts must primarily ensure mobility in industry.?

PEF, set up with the support of USAID, has over the years lived on that support for project financing throughout its life. It got to the situation where PEF was not being sustained because USAID withdrew their support.

Agyemang-Duah noted that the chairman, at the time, was able to find ways of creating income along the way, while strategising for PEF to become self-sustaining.

The result of that is the new PEF, with the change of name from foundation to federation and the new strategy to create an income stream through a third party company called PEF Solutions, which has been registered and is going to provide advisory services to clients, provide technical services to train businesses, and to synchronise business information for potential investors.

Through PEF?s advocacy, a couple its small and weak institutions are now being looked after by various partners, some business schools and some philanthropic organisations to make them more effective and competitive.

PEF currently is also trying position itself for foreign direct investors to partner with local firms and help move them into the international supply chain and compete on their own.

The federation, through a grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB), is now developing a web page, which is going to be a repository of data from different sources and be a research tool for capacity-building for businesses that have the need.

Nana Osei Bonsu, the Chief Executive of PEF disclosed that PEF had been working with licensing and regulatory agencies to make sure they provided guidance to help the private sector to play its role better by providing the enforcement and the technical and regulatory environment to bring everybody into compliance with what was required.

He said PEF also, in its advocacy, had been looking at the various tenets of the economy that had failed, so far as policies are concerned, as well as the rendering of tax incentives to FDIs at the detriment of the minuscule local private sector whose income level cannot compete with the foreign counterparts, much more when the tax incentives are added on.

PEF had earlier in the day elected its governing council, comprising the five founding member associations and seven new members with the Nana Osei Bonsu as Secretary to the Council.

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