The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, has called on the government to support home-grown businesses to enable them to grow and expand their operations instead of focusing on bringing in new investors.
He explained that until the Ghanaian businessman or businesswoman with vision was assisted and supported to grow and expand his or her operations, the economy would continue to stagnate
Mr Agyapong said this at the 10th edition of the Tema Excellence Awards held last Saturday, in Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
The Tema Excellence Awards is aimed at celebrating personalities who reside in Tema and have excelled in their various fields of endeavour and contributed to the development of the metropolis.
This year 12 individuals were presented with shields and citations for their contributions to society.
The Assin Central lawmaker and businessman, who was the Special Guest of Honour, noted that successive governments had over the years not supported indigenous businesses to make them take commanding heights of the economy.
“There are good Ghanaians who can do good business and they need support. We are not asking for handouts; all we are asking for is assistance to contribute to the economic development of our nation.”
“I have always asked myself what we can do as citizens of this country to develop our nation. We are not harnessing our potential. I wouldn’t blame anybody but I think successive governments have not done enough to promote Ghanaian entrepreneurs. We need to take our destiny into our own hands but we can only do that when we have banks assisting businessmen and business women with vision,” he said.
He bemoaned the high-interest rates charged by the banks and called on the government to do something about it.
“If an Indian is coming to do business with an interest rate of between three and five per cent, and a Ghanaian goes for a loan of 30 per cent, how do you compete with an Indian globally?
How do you compete with a Lebanese globally? Even Nigeria, which is next door to Ghana, has an interest rate regime of between nine and 10 per cent,” he stated.
Mr Agyapong said he was of the view that the system must be reviewed to provide Ghanaian entrepreneurs with a fair, transparent and competitive market to contribute to the expansion and stability of the economy since profits gained by them would remain in the country.
“It is not that Ghanaian businesses do not have vision or foresight but the system does not help us in any way,” he stressed.
Mr Agyapong also called on entrepreneurs to do honest business, be hardworking, trustworthy and disciplined in all that they do, since, without it, they would not achieve success.
He commended the organisers for recognising and promoting excellence over the past decade and called on residents of Tema, including corporate organisations, to join hands with the organisers and the various stakeholders to develop Tema into what the late Dr Kwame Nkrumah envisioned.
He said Tema had a lot of potential in industry, tourism, among other sectors, but land (which is a key resource) had been sold to foreigners, a situation that had stagnated the growth of the city but must be reversed if the port city was to take its pride of place in national development.
The Chief Executive of Tema Excellence Awards Foundation, Mr Kwesi Poko Bosompen, said since its inception 10 years ago, the foundation had recognised and rewarded more than 250 people with the aim of inspiring others to do more for the city and the nation.
He said every society must recognise its heroes and heroines and that was what they had achieved over the years.
He commended partners and sponsors for supporting such a noble cause.
Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, a previous recipient, received a special award and the title “Akukudurohene” from the organisers for his forthrightness on national issues.
Other award winners were Mr George Sydney Abugri, a multi-award winning journalist (formerly of the Graphic Communications Group), Nii Bortey Klan I, Chief of Klagon; Mr Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, MP for Tema East; Mrs Margaret Nsiah Asamoah, immediate past Tema Regional Director of Education; Mrs Barbera Aful Asamoah of Santa Barbera School, and Captain Ben Duah, a retired army officer.
The rest were Mr Bismarck Brown, a media practitioner; Dr Kofi Asare, Apostle Dr Robert Ayikuma Laryea, Rev. Col, Paul Adjei Brewu (Retd) and Dr Kwabena Opoku Edusei.