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$8.2 million disbursed under BUSAC Fund   
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The maiden edition of Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund ends within the next six weeks, after the disbursement of about 8.2 million dollars in 360 grants for business advocacy in Ghana.

"There is no more money in the Fund to be disbursed," Dr. Dale Rachmeler, Fund Manager told the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

Speaking at the launch of Journalists for Business Advocacy (JBA), Dr. Rachmeler said over the past five years, the fund had supported business associations, the media and trade unions to undertake effective business advocacy.

The fund was jointly established by USAID, DANIDA and DFID in 2004 to build the capacities of business associations, the media and trade unions to undertake effective business advocacy through dialogue with policymakers to influence national policies that would favour businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) received GHC882, 000 from the Fund to organise business advocacy in the media.

Dr. Rachmeler said BUSAC Fund One would end by December 31, and BUSAC Fund Two estimated at about 16 million dollars would begin in March 2010 for another five years.

He said the European Union had joined the three original sponsors of BUSAC One for BUSAC Two under a new management to improve on the success of BUSAC One.

"BUSAC Two would focus on building the capacities of business associations to deepen their advocacy role. I hope I would be appointed to manage BUSAC Two to release more money for advocacy, "he said.

Dr. Rachmeler commended the National Executive Committee of GJA, for achieving tangible results and making significant impact with the GHC882, 000 grant received from the fund, in the short, medium and long term.

"The GJA has demonstrated its mastery of advocacy unlike the other institutions that were assisted because it takes time to master advocacy to become effective to change the Ghanaian private business sector," he said.

The GJA in collaboration with KAB Governance Consult managed to sustain business advocacy in the media through media discussion programmes and sponsored publications and discussions on business advocacy in the media.

These are, the Business Advocate, a discussion programme on Ghana Television (GTV) and "Edwumapaye" on Adom FM and its 16 affiliated stations.

Dr. Rachmeler commended Mr. Bright Blewu, GJA General Secretary and Mr. Kwesi Afriyie Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KAB Consult for their efforts on business advocacy in the media.

Mr. John Gyetuah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, expressed appreciation to the management of BUSAC Fund and GJA for deepening business advocacy in the country, particularly encouraging small businesses to dialogue with policy makers to ensure national policy addressed the needs of SMEs.

He noted that the objective of BUSAC and GJA were in consonance with government's agenda of investing in people, jobs creation and the economy, adding "it is government's desire that the efforts by the media were being realised in enhancing the competitiveness of local industries".

"BUSAC has been able to administer advocacy services to the doorsteps of business associations to re-orient their operations to deliver the requisite services needed to support the growth and development of SMEs," he said.

Mr. Gyetuah said that the Ministry had developed the Ghana Trade Policy, under which a five-year Trade Sector Support Programme targeting 27 projects would be assisted including SME support.

However, he said SMEs could qualify for support when they had good corporate governance and gave the assurance that the Ministry would factor recommendations by media advocates into its policies and programmes to ensure the development of SMEs.
Source: GNA

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