The Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana, Mr. Dolapo Ogundimu has backed calls for the patronage of locally produced goods and services.

In a speech read on his behalf at the 2015 Ghana Economic Forum, by Mr. Stephen Abban, Group Head for Personal Banking, the Access Bank MD bemoaned the low patronage of Ghanaian made products due to what he called the strong appetite acquired for foreign goods.

He mentioned that although there are valid reasons for Ghanaians to choose products from other countries, public and private sector companies can collaborate to improve the situation through deliberate policy interventions.

“If we are to make any meaningful progress in developing a Ghanaian-owned economy, then we must be ready to suffer a period of discomfort – a period of sacrifice where we collectively support local industry to boost demand by patronizing our goods and services regardless of their shortfalls”.

He proposed Access to capital, special taxes/ tariff regimes and franchising as ways through which strong local brands can be built.

On accessing capital from the financial sector, Mr. Ogundimu noted that local entrepreneurs can get the needed support if specialised banks such as the erstwhile Bank for Housing & Construction were created.

He explained that specialised banks have the capacity to provide longer repayment terms, concessionary interest rates and tailored advice among other finance and structuring options to support the growth of local businesses.

“Ghana is largely import driven economy, and any transformation to build local enterprise must include the import sector. It would be appropriate for the Government to encourage local firms which import high volumes of goods to establish factories in the country to manufacture them under a franchising licence as well as special tax and tariff regimes including tax holidays”. 

In his keynote address, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Paa Kwasi Amissah Arthur, welcomed comments by speakers and Access Bank on the call for improved policies to encourage local enterprise participation.

He also encouraged local banks to invest more in the real sector of the economy.

“Indigenous private sector need to put their money where their mouth is. Banks must be encouraged to develop instruments that can motivate clients to save for the long-term that can then be used to finance long-term investments”, he urged.

The two day 2015 Ghana Economic Forum organised by the Business & Financial Times is being held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel is on the theme “Ghanaian-Owned Economy: Setting the Agenda for achieving it”. This year’s event kick-starts a five-year agenda that will annually assess progress made by government and the private sector towards the creation of a Ghanaian-owned economy.

The Ghana Economic Forum has since its inception set the agenda for public discourse on key issues pertaining to the Ghanaian Economy. Stakeholders at this year’s forum will trade ideas on how Ghanaians can collectively take ownership of the economy and contribute to making it a success.