Government has been reminded of the urgent need to upgrade and expand the Buipe Inland Port to provide efficient inter-mobile transport system between the north and the south.
Participants of the third edition of the Northern Ghana Business Conference raised this among several concerns chronicled in a communiqué issued at the climax of the four days event held in Tamale.
The Communiqué which was read by Senior Research, Development and Promotion Officer of the Export Development and Agricultural Industrial Fund (EDAIF) in Northern Region, Salifu Ali implored chiefs in the northern sector to facilitate easy access to land for development projects in their areas.
Salifu Ali who acted as Secretary to the Communiqué Committee demanded that wavers and other tax incentives should be given with access facilitated to promote business establishments in the northern sector.
The Communiqué said the immense potentials of non timber forest products such as Sheanut, Baobab and dawadawa should be developed and that more attention be paid to that sector in developing alternative cash crops in addition to the traditional cocoa and oil palm.
The Communiqué insisted that private sector and responsible government agencies should collaborate effectively in development, production, value addition, financing and marketing of all agricultural products.
It recommended that institutions like (EDAIF), Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Venture Capital, National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) among others should provide easy access to their financing and technical assistance to farmers and industrialists to help catalyst development in the northern sector.
The Communiqué implied that current policies on subsidies relating to agriculture inputs should be reviewed to benefit farmers directly instead of doing so through middle men.
That relevant agencies involved in the development of agriculture should engross farmers during the distribution of agriculture machinery, inputs and appropriate technologies.
On peaceful co-existence, the Communiqué admonished citizens of the northern sector to make it a pledge to jealously protect and guard the peace of the area for development to thrive.
Giving the current high energy cost in commercial agriculture production, irrigation and mechanized farming, the Communiqué said the option of affordable solar energy should be exploited vigorously to provide alternative source of energy.
That the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and related agencies should facilitate the smooth importation of agriculture equipment and machinery to support the development of agriculture as well as the export of farm produce.
The Communiqué called for effective partnership between the Ghana Tourism Authority and the private sector to harness the huge tourism potentials in the north.
Organizers of the event, investment promoters called Ridmut Consults bemoaned the lack of manufacturing companies in Northern Ghana.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Riyad Mutawakil said there should be limitless possibilities of creating industries in Northern Ghana to reduce the high poverty levels recorded there.
He highlighted the untapped investment potentials of Northern Ghana and persuaded duty bearers to take quick action.
He felt there was the need for government to deepen its political will towards bridging the yawning developmental disparities between Southern and Northern.
Riyad Mutawakil was enthused about the outcome of the four days event but concluded that there was room for improvement.
Executive Chairman of Ghana’s leading fertilizer distributors, Wienco Ghana Limited, Mr. Henri Wientjes believed instability in Northern Ghana has always scared prospective investors.
He said appropriate steps must be taken to rebrand Northern Ghana and make it business friendly.
On the depreciation of the local currency against the Dollar, Mr. Henry Wientjes claimed the state of affairs was good for exporters.
His reason was that the high rise of the major foreign currency will scare Ghanaian importers who invest their capital in Chinese markets.
He realized that the scarcity of Dollars in the Ghanaian economy is a panacea to compel Ghanaian importers to patronize made in Ghana goods which in his estimation will boost local economic growth.
Mr. Henry Wientjes disclosed that Wienco and its allied bodies were running at a lost in the Ghanaian market.
He divulged that his company’s previous daily sale of two million bags of fertilizer has dropped to 400,000 bags because of the local economic meltdown.
Participants at the four days event told Citi News they did not regret honoring the organizers invitation.
They however complained about low publicity ahead of its commencement.
The 2014 edition of the Northern Ghana Business Conference was on the theme, “Projecting the resource potentials of Northern Ghana for accelerated development: the role of Public-Private Partnership.”
It was announced that the fourth edition will be held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital in 2015.
By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana