The second phase of the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund was launched in Accra yesterday.
The phase two is a five year programme aimed at educating beneficiaries on the concept and practice of advocacy on all sectors of the economy.
The first phase of the fund which was set up to strengthen advocacy capacity of private sector business groups and associations has elapsed and the second phase is to ensure continuity of the programme.
Mrs Joyce Elizabeth Villars, Chairperson of the BUSAC Fund Steering committee said the Phase I which ended in February 2010, awarded a total of 362 grants to business associations, labour unions and business media for advocacy activities, which were supported by development partners such as DANIDA, DFID and USAID.
She said the National Medium-term private sector Development Strategy documented many constraints to businesses and recognized business advocacy as one f the mechanisms by which such constraints could effectively be removed to enhance private sector competitiveness.
Mrs Villars said BUSAC II which would last 2010-2014, was therefore meant to address issues that influenced the business environment to make it attractive for investment to create and expand business.
She said the fund would continue to proactive and prioritize policy issues, choose special partners for and direct resources to special themes otherwise neglected to the disadvantage of the majority of the business community.
Mrs Villars explained that the fund was accessible to both established and emerging private sector organizations and grants of up to two years duration were on offer to support advocacy activities and related capacity building initiatives.
Dr. Dale Rachmeler, BUSAC Fund Manager said the programme supports all types of business associations no matter their size, location or vocation.
“Business advocacy grants have gone to associations of bankers, architects and engineers, journalist, and private radio stations, fishermen, millers, masons and farmers,” he said.
He said apex associations such as Association of Ghana Industries, the National Chamber of Commerce, the Ghana Employers Association and Private Enterprise Foundation have also benefited from BUSAC Fund to diologue directly at the highest level of government.
“Ghana has demonstrated over the past five years that it has all the ingredients to create and maintain such open environment crucial for growth” he said.
He said BUSAC Fund has changed the lives of many Ghanaians and will continue to do so since government has demonstrated its commitment to democratic governance saying “we are but a small element in the bigger picture of growing a country and insuring that the quality of life will be better in the future”.
Dr. Rachmeler said BUSAC Fund will move business associations to improve the quality of advocacy proposals and to demonstrate to the world that in Ghana the art and science of persuasive influencing is something to be proud of.