A national secretariat to provide administrative and technical support to the National Committee on Informal Economy (NCIE) was inaugurated in Accra on Tuesday.
The secretariat, which is located at the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, is expected to serve as a converging point for the various interventions from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies towards the development and upliftment of the informal economy to ensure growth.
Mr. Stephen Amoanor Kwao, Out-going Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, said the informal economy though the most vibrant and employed about 80 to 90 per cent of Ghanaians, had remained under-developed with low productivity and substantially low incomes.
He said the sector contributed only 40 per cent of national income even though its players remained very active in Ghana's economy.
Mr. Amoanor Kwao said government's determination to create decent jobs and reduce poverty could be realised when the informal economy was encouraged to operate efficiently and effectively as pertained in the past.
He explained that NCIE was established as a response to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) call for the creation of an institutional framework to address peculiar needs of the informal economy in Ghana.
Mr. Amoanor Kwao said some of the challenges facing the informal economy were lack of access to micro- financing, innovative ideas and training in modern entrepreneurial skills as well as the use of technology to boost business.
He said there was an urgent need to modernise operations of the informal economy to make it competitive and business-like, while adopting a more unified and coherent approach to develop the sector.
"NCIE is expected to spearhead and co-ordinate all activities and interventions aimed at ensuring growth in the informal economy," he added.
Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, advocated well designed as well as realistic policies and programmes to enhance capacities in the informal economy and allow players to develop, evolve and grow naturally, instead of adopting harsh measures that often lead to lose of capital by small and medium scale enterprises.
He said women formed the majority in the informal economy and their role and efforts should be acknowledged and complemented by putting in place interventions such as capacity building workshops and making available to them micro financing facilities to enable them expand their businesses to boost growth in the sector.
Mr. Kwetey cited instances where hawkers and squatters had been chased and their goods destroyed without any appropriate options, saying such actions only aggravated the already high rate of poverty among the citizenry.
He commended the ILO, Ghana Employers Association and Ghana Trades Union Congress, for collaborating with the ministry to establish the Secretariat, that would enhance recognition of the informal economy and offer direction to small and medium scale enterprises to ensure growth.
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