By Yaw Ansah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 6, GNA - Participants at a high level forum in Accra to discuss emerging issues in Ghana’s implementation of Local Content policies said local participation could be achieved through adequate indigenous capacity building in terms of finance and skills.
Majority of the participants said lack of coherence and harmonisation in local content policies and their implementation could lead to reduced transparency, undermining of local content enforcement, which affected investor confidence.
The forum, which was organised by Imani Africa, with support from BUSAC Fund, was attended by representatives from the diplomatic community, entrepreneurs, think tanks and government agencies to deliberate on the finding and recommendations of a recent study titled; “Is Ghana Ready for More Local Content?”.
Conducted in Ghana, Botswana, Zambia, Brazil India, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the study explores the successes and challenges in the institution of local policies in oil, gas, mining, coastal and inland water shipping, construction and renewable energy.
It, among other things, recommended that government and other public-sector agencies needed to develop comprehensive metrics and frameworks to appropriately track year on year achievement of local content targets or improvements in local content levels.
Madam Tove Degnbol, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, said local content policies were pertinent in ensuring alignment between the structure of a country’s economy, its productive sectors and the country’s need for wealth creation and employment generation.
“We believe in the improvement of the local content of Ghana, and the President’s vision of “Ghana beyond Aid” makes this even more important,” she noted.
Madam Degnbol said Denmark was phasing out its development cooperation with Ghana at the end of 2020, but would be continuing with trade and investments activities.
She said an improved local content would serve as an important condition for improving the ability of Ghana to engage in trade and investments with her international partners.
“We appreciate the need to improve skills of the Ghanaian workforce, and over the past six years, our Skills Development Fund has been improving the skill sets of Ghanaian businesses to enhance their productivity and profitability,” she said.
The Ambassador noted that local content was important and commended the Government of Ghana for doing its utmost to ensure jobs, skills development, and economic prosperity for Ghanaians.
She said local content should be applied in a transparent and predictable way and should be a policy that was unambiguous.
“It should not mean different things at different times, depending on the lips speaking it, nor the ears hearing it, and definitely not depending on which minister or ministry is talking,” she said.
Madam Degnbol said local content should be consulted with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that decisions were taken on a complete and enlightened basis.
Mr Nicolas Jørgensen Gebara, the BUSAC Fund Manager, said local content was good for the country because it would allow for the building of capacity in the economic sector.
He said throughout the Fund’s support to the private sector it had identified issues on local capacity and the degree to which local content should be applied on specific sectors in the country.
Mr Gebara noted that effective local content policies would attract foreign direct investments to inject capital technology and skills into the economy, promoting local business involvement in the value chains they operate.
Mr Frankly Cudjoe, the Founding President of IMANI, said local content could not be enhanced when 88 per cent of port charges were not directly linked to the services provided but rather for revenue generation, according to a United States Agency for International Development research revealed.
He said plans were underway to establish a Financial Industry Watchdog aimed at ensuring a sustainable financial industry in the country.