‘Create partnerships with foreign investors’

Business News of Monday, 22 June 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Elikem Nutifafa KuenyehiaMr Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia

The Chairman of Oxford and Beaumont Solicitors, a corporate and commercial law firm based in Accra and London, Mr Elikem Nutifafa Kuenyehia, has stressed the need for local entrepreneurs to build partnerships with foreign investors.

These partnerships, he said must be based on values, not just the money.

Mr Kuenyehia made the call at the 15th MTN Business Executives Breakfast Meeting in Accra on June 18. The forum was held in partnership with BusinessWorld Magazine and the Graphic Business, the leading financial newspaper in the country.

“The local entrepreneurs must look not only to gain money from the partnership, but also to learn from the experience and exposure of foreign investors. This is a factor many entrepreneurs ignore, but it is a factor which has helped to make many businesses successful today”, he added.

He said with his experience with local entrepreneurs, he noticed that many local entrepreneurs did not adhere to the regulatory requirements – keeping proper records of their businesses – and most local business were shrouded in secrecy which made it difficult for people other than shareholders and people in management positions to access information regarding the company.

Subsequently, he advised local entrepreneurs “to keep proper records of their transaction experiences and account books and be more transparent with information as these are some of the things foreign investors consider to decide whether or not to invest in local companies that require that assistance”.

Mr Kuenyehia added that “Local entrepreneurs also have to avoid cutting corners and this is what many businesses in the country are beginning to appreciate and they are building world class businesses in the country and encouraged them to continue in that trail to reap the full benefits. Not every dollar is a dollar but a dollar must bring value.”

The renowned international solicitor also touched on the country’s current local content regulations across the various sectors.

He stressed that “generally, local content as a legislative tool is good and it can help build the bigger locals to higher levels. However, multinationals are not a charity. They invest in the country for profit so it is up to our people to position themselves strategically to partner or compete with foreign investors.”

“We must, therefore, invest in our own businesses to get the locals to build up financially to be able to partner with and/or compete adequately with the multinationals”, he said.

“Yes, we need capital for our local businesses. But local companies need to begin sourcing smart capital to get the small and medium entrprises (SMEs) to grow”, he said, adding that, “To this extent, we could explore DDIs – Domestic Direct Investments”.

Alternatively, he said local business (for instance banks and insurance companies) could consolidate their balance sheets in order to be able to take up big-ticket projects.

According to Mr Kuenyehia, until that was done, the country would leave the big-ticket projects and contracts to the bigger multinationals.

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