STCCI Launches Annual Lectures

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As it poised to make Western Region the growth pole of Ghana

By Gilbert Boyefio

The Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI), has instituted an Annual Public Lecture to highlight the need for a strong collaboration between the Public and the Private Sectors in the Socio-Economic Development of Ghana.

STCCI is doing this as part of its advocacy efforts to strengthen the cooperation between the two very important sectors of our country.

Speaking at the launch of the public lectures, Ato Van-Ess, Chairman of the STCCI, indicated that discussions at the Lecture are essential and necessary to come up with practical strategies to improve the lives of the people and ensure human security in the region and the country as whole, adding that, “It will represent a tangible step towards amplifying the capabilities of the people of the Western Region and Ghana by creating opportunities that enable them to pursue the lives they value. It is extremely important for the Public and Private sectors to work together to develop a master plan for the purpose of adding value to the abundant natural resources in the Region for the benefit of all.”

Though the Western Region provides most of the country’s resources, development in the region has not been commensurate with its output. Given that the region contains over 80% of the country’s natural resources, the lack of development in the region has also affected the total development of the Country.

Sadly however, after years of commercial production of gold, manganese, bauxite and other mineral resources as well as oil & gas, cocoa, rubber and so forth, the Western Region still experiences the characteristic pattern of distorted growth and general under-development. Particularly, the right business environment that will promote, develop and expand the frontiers of enterprise across all the sectors to bring about industrialization and its attendant economic development that we all aspire for, is not in place.

`Mr. Ato Van-Ess made reference to a UNDP Western Region Human Development report 2013, which confirms this assertion when it states that “a feature of the Western Region is that for the past four decades the region’s contribution to the national gross output and wealth has been significantly above its share in Ghana’s population and labour force.”

The report also observes that the “region’s paradox of plenty or resource curse will persist unless the structural relations between central and regional authorities are revamped and reorganized.”

A clear lesson from the report is that the Region’s prosperity will depend upon skills, knowledge, and enterprise of every citizen for the exploitation of the abundant natural resources and their willingness to collaborate for the greater good of all. Making sustained progress will require that all stakeholders place responsibilities ahead of entitlements, emphasize on human and social development through deliberate and specific development interventions rather than the narrow pursuits of income and status.

Mr. Ato Van-Ess in advocating for a Public and Private sector collaboration, indicate that, “Per STCCI’s principles, we always want to “walk the talk.” We do not intend to make this ceremony a mere “talk show.” We have already set in motion a host of programmes and projects to exhibit our zeal to play our part in ensuring that the Western Region becomes the Growth Pole for the socio-economic development of Ghana.”

STCCI, in collaboration with its affiliates and partners, has created 3 key pillars for the provision of services for its members and the general business community, which include: the provision of mediation and arbitration services for the business community in Ghana. As a result, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre has been established to mediate business related disputes in the Western Region; the promotion of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Culture in Ghana by setting up a basic HSE Learning Centre, which is to address some of HSE related concerns of SMEs participating in the extractive industry. As part of promoting the HSE culture in Ghana, STCCI has launched an international Conference dubbed ‘Ghana Extractive Industry Safety Conference (GEISCon). GEISCon focuses on Health, Safety and Environment by identifying new trends, standards, innovations, risks and opportunities in health and safety in the extractive industry; and the provision of financial services for the business community through the setting up of the Western Chamber Cooperative Credit Union (WESCCU) in Takoradi and Elubo.

The STCCI has also from June 30th 2014 to date, embarked on the following activities in support of the 3 key pillars: joined the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); with the support of GIZ, STCCI hired a facility at Anaji in Takoradu to set up the HSE Centre; advanced Mediators training with Hamburg Chamber of Commerce; business visit to TAQA Energy to understand their procurement system; procurement seminar with Ghana Gas; held the 1st International safety conference, the Ghana Extractive Industry Safety Conference (GEISCon 2015) at the Atlantic Hotel in Takoradi;  International Labour Organisation (ILO) endorses STCCI as the implementer of the ILO SCORE Training Project for the Western and Central Regions; CEO of STCCI delivers a paper on the Extractive Industry in Ghana at the Houston Global Trade Conference and Expo in USA; with the support of the Australian High Commission and the Queensland University of Australia, STCCI trained a group of 35 HSE Coaches to support SMEs put up their Safety Management Systems; and ILO will STCCI consultants to support SMES in the Western and Central Regions to maintain an international working environment.

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