Professor John Gatsi, a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast School of Business, has disclosed that indigenous businesses do not have requisite support they need from government to enable them thrive in the country.
According to him, we have gotten to a time where we need to “support individuals” to bring out their ideas to create new businesses. Mr Gatsi explained that discussions on how issues encountered by entrepreneurs in setting up and sustaining a business can be resolved is important.
He noted that deliberating on such matters will bring on board “genuine ideas” to ensure that we support those who need it. This, Mr Gatsi believes, will ensure survival of “businesses that are being created” and lead to creation of employment in the private sector.
“We cannot expect everyone to be an entrepreneur. The support system for entrepreneurship across the country is not adequate. We should pay more attention to look at it in a strategic context so that the dividend will be measurable for the economy”.
Commenting on how feasible the total scrapping of import duties for businesses will be, Mr Gatsi revealed that it “will be very difficult”. Thus, he reckons government can “manage the import duties” to a level that does not serve as impediment to entrepreneurs.
“Just as we do to our foreign direct investors, we could find a way of providing rebates in terms of what duties they are supposed to pay… Beyond that, government can also identify key entrepreneurs in certain sectors that government feel it’s going to be growth pole in terms expansion, employing young people, transferring some skills and advisory services to young people”.
Addressing challenges of entrepreneurs
Emphasizing the need for engagement with entrepreneurs, Mr Gatsi asserted that when government listens broadly to young entrepreneurs and their challenges, they will be able to come up with “policy that will target” them.
By implication, he believes this will give them some kind of respite in terms of the area they are having challenges with and not only in the area of import duties or taxes.
“Some are facing challenges in terms of energy and many other things. So, if we can have broader engagement, all these things will come out and that will shape policies to revamping real entrepreneurship that will be impactful…”
Mr Gatsi urged government to provide a certain “dispensation” to these businesses by benchmarking them in terms of what knowledge they are able to transfer to young people and the kind of employment they are able to give to the youth.
Touching on initiatives by government to help businesses, Mr Gatsi revealed that it’s currently being handled in a “piecemeal manner” and uncoordinated.
“With the expectation we are talking about from our young entrepreneurs and opportunities that are in it… I think more coordination in doing the things in a broader manner, that is what we need now. You can’t do broad based entrepreneurship as a program… We need to give a better attention to the project of entrepreneurship”.
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