By: Utche Okwuosah
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has always wanted to be a pro-private sector party because of its consistent favourable private sector enabling policies. The Nana Akufo-Addo government is today re-enforcing that inclination, especially with the establishment of the Ministry of Business Development.
Amongst a couple of private sector targeted initiatives by this new Ministry of Business Development, one of the initiatives cut out especially for start-ups might just be the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) well capacitated to ensure that the private sector is properly groomed to truly perform as the real engine of growth of the economy.
Speaking at the maiden executive breakfast meeting of the Business Council for Africa (BCA) at the African Regent Hotel recently, where he was the Guest of Honour, Joe Tackie, the Acting Chief Director at the Ministry of Business Development, said that currently, as part of the entrepreneurship innovation plan of the government, granting of up to 5 years’ tax holidays for start-ups is under serious consideration by the government. This revelation was made in his response to one of the BCA member’s question on whether it was possible for government to consider giving start-ups a special tax concession that might, for instance, give a certain flat rate for their personnel.
“Rest assured that we are addressing that,” Tackie had assured while explaining to the audience the importance the present government has placed on supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs. Earlier, he had underscored this characteristic leaning of the government when he tied it to the vision of President Akufo-Addo for the private sector.
“The whole idea is to ensure that the president’s vision of making this country the most business friendly with the critical mass of entrepreneurs who have the great opportunities to implement will be achieved. And also, to ensure that we increase the rate of business formation, so that, by aggregate, we’ll get the private sector leading the economic development of the country and this is one of the key tenets of the vision of His Excellency, the president, which we are implementing through the Ministry of Business Development.”
Consequently, the Ministry of Business Development is implementing the National Entrepreneurship and innovation Plan (NEIP) set up to take care of young people who are anxious about starting their own businesses, “and in so doing, there is the opportunity for them to be trained,” and to be provided with what they have termed “incubation spaces,” where the young entrepreneurs could begin to implement their ideas. The Ministry then supports with business advisory “to ensure that as startups, they can stay the course” and be able to implement their business idea.
The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan (NEIP) is a flagship policy initiative of the government of Ghana. The ultimate aim of the initiative is to enable entrepreneurs, empower innovation and accelerate job creation for Ghana’s teeming unemployed youth. The Acting Chief Director said that the programme is already being implemented.
“I am now happy that we came up with this breakfast meeting idea,” Kwadwo Ohemeng Asumaning, Chairman of BCA, told GB&F at the end of the meeting. “For instance, without this meeting we would not have known about this great plan that government has for start-ups; that there is about US$1million for entrepreneurs under the National Entrepreneurs Innovation Program (NEIP). We are encouraged by this first outing and would continue have it so that our members would benefit from the enlightenment which is crucial for growth in our competitive environment,” Asumaning added with satisfaction.
The Business Council for Africa has been in existence for nearly 25 years. It has a membership that cuts across several blue chip companies in Ghana; and, these members, of which are either wholly Ghanaian owned or foreign owned, contribute a considerable amount in corporate tax revenues to Ghana’s economy.
The BCA’s maiden executive meeting which held on 30th November, 2017, had the theme: “Good to Great: Providing the Enabling Environment for Businesses to Thrive: The Role of Ministry of Business Development & BCA”.