Provision of adequate credit facilities
It is recommended that commercial banks should re-assess their demands on customers and be flexible in their operations. Credit accessibility is more acute to the rural small and is producers in the informal sector. These small scale producers should come together to form co-operatives so that they become viable entities and can qualify for credit facility from the banks.
The use of appropriate tools
The development priority is to provide support for the development of locally made appropriate technology in agro-processing machinery and equipments. However in order to address the problem of the use of obsolete and inappropriate tools, instruments for testing hardness and tensile strength of the tools should be made available to the district.
Willingness of the labour force
Due to the low income earned from the agric sector majority of the labour force employed in the sector are willing to diversify to the industrial sector because it is more lucrative. Similarly there are existence of seasonal unemployment after harvesting therefore farmers would want to be employed in other sectors like industry and service.
Presence of MOFA in the District
In the quest of MoFA to enhance agricultural production, it also seeks to promote agro-processing to process the raw food commodities to ensure value addition.
Presence of raw materials
Industry links with the agricultural sector due to the raw materials agriculture supplies. Agriculture provides enough raw materials to feed the industries in the district.
The Service Sector
The services sector is the fastest growing area of the Ghanaian economy. Ghana has taken on the features of a present day industrialized country with a large service sector without having gone through the prior stage of developing the agriculture and industry base of the economy. Expansion of the sector therefore has the potential, through multiplier effects, to create employment opportunities in other sectors, for example the food industry. This is a clear evidence of dependence of one sector on the other for growth and development. The service sector includes the buying and selling of goods. The growth of the service sector in the Akuapem North District needs to be commented on. It is the most grown and developed sector of the district’s economy. A greater detail of the service sector is given in this report.
Type of Service
The services rendered in the district cannot be talked about comprehensively without a look at the types of services engaged in by the people in the district. An analysis of the type of services will help in the drawing of planning policies and implications for development. The number of tailors/dressmakers out number those engaged in other service type. Communication is the least service type rendered in the District. It is realized that, the channels of communication through modern technological means is low. Also, the dispensary service is not an area of investment by most people and this can be attributed to the high rate of illiteracy level in the District. It is known that the delivery of such services require adequate skills and training.
Type of commercial Activity
Over 60% of people engaged in commercial activities are into petty trading, 36.4% are into retailing whilst only 3.6% are into whole sale trading. This shows that majority of people employed in the commercial sector are petty trader and with regards to this earn incomes which are subsistent.
The table above shows the employment status of people engaged in commercial activities. A little over 98% of them are employers who either employ only themselves or others and only 1.8% are employees. This shows that almost all the of the people are employers and this is probably due to the high percentage in the retail trading who need only a small amount to commerce business.
For purposes of raising funds for establishment and expansion of various sources are considered by operators in the service sector. Investigations show that the initial or start-up capital of people engage in the service sector of the district economy is from personal sources. It shows that 68.5% begin their activity with amount below 500,000 cedis, 20.4% started with amount between 501,000 and 2,000,000 cedis and 11.1% also started with amount above 2,000,000 cedis. This implies that majority of people engaged in commercial activity with amount below 500,000 cedis and this could probably account for the high rate of petty trading in the district.
Source of start-up capital
The sources from which one can obtain his or her start-up capital for business are diverse. For instance, from the table above, 61.1% of people engaged in commercial activity in the district, obtained their initial source of capital from their personal savings, 29.6% obtained their from relative, 3.7% obtained their from friends and 5.6% obtained their financial institutions. This shows majority of people obtaining their initial source of capital from their own personal savings and high petty trading in the District can also be attributed to this fact.
Access to credit
From the table above, 21.8% of people engaged in commercial activity in the district have access to credit facilities whilst 78.2% do not have access. Majority of the people thus 78.2% engage in commercial activity do not have access to credit and the implication is that they might not be able to expand their businesses and hence engage in petty which might not earn enough.
Means of saving
The table above represents the means by which people who engage in commercial activity the district save. It shows that 50% save in the bank 37.5% save with susu collectors whilst 12.5% do their personal savings. Majority of then engage in petty trading and majority save with the banks yet majority does not have access to credit for expansion of their business. This may be due to collaterals demands and high interest rates by the rate.
Amount saved per month
The table above shows the amount saved per month by people in the district who engage in comme3rcial activities. About 57.5% save below 100,000 cedis a month, 30% save between 101,000 and 200,000 cedis whilst 12.5% save above 200,000 cedis. This implies that majority of the people in the commercial sector save below 100,000 cedis and this may de due to the fact that majority engage in petty trading and not earn enough to spend let alone save enough.
Source of Inputs
The delivery of services mostly in the non-formal sector requires inputs/raw materials for its running. The dependence either the agricultural sector or the industrial sector comes in here as well. There is the need to look at the source of inputs available to the service sector for valid deductions to be made. Below is a table showing the source of inputs for the service sector. It could be seen that, the number of people who get their source of inputs outside the District are more than those who get their source of inputs inside the district. 60% and 40% respectively. A valid deduction is that, cost of services rendered is high since transportation cost will be added.
Sector Contribution to Employment
A major essence of looking at the sectors of the economy is to arrive at each sector’s contribution to reducing unemployment. Thus, to come out with the number of people the sector employs in its production or service delivery process. Sector performance in terms of the number of people employed cannot therefore be overlooked.
The performance of the service sector in reducing unemployment in the district is given. it could be observed that the service sector is not a good contributor to the economy in terms of employment. However, service by its nature does not require the employment of many people in helping to render.
Funds form the basis for expansion and growth. Production and productivity increase depends much on available funds for expansion. There is therefore the need to look at the access to credit facilities. The service sector employers’ access to credit facilities have been identified as having 18.2% access and the remaining (81.8%) not being able to raise funds from whatever sources. It could therefore be concluded that, since there is difficulty in access to credit facilities in the district by the service sector, adequate funds cannot be generated for expansion. Inability to expand means inability to absorb the unemployed to reduce the unemployment rate and its associated ramifications.
Income Levels in the Service Sector
For every sector of the economy, there is the need to look at the income levels of the people engaged in that sector. It is on this basis that the sector of the economy that is the most lucrative or profitable can be identified. By this, the standards of living of the people engaged in that sector can also be measured. The income levels of the service sector are given.
It can be deduced that about 67.8% of those engaged in tile service sector receive income above 0500,000 per month. The average monthly income is also 0564,613. This amount is relatively the best among all the sectors of the economy. It is arrived at that the service is the most lucrative sector of the economy in the Akuapem North District.
No sector of the economy can boast of the absence of development problems. Development problems hinder growth and development efforts. They need to be solved if development is really sought. The main development problems of the service sector are as discussed subsequently.
inaccessibility to credit facilities
Lack of organized associations often results in the inability to access credit facilities. Most of the entrepreneurs also lack the collaterals required by the banks. Further, the high interest rates on loans also hinder entrepreneurs from accessing the credit facilities offered by the banks.
Lack of expansion
The inability to expand in the service sector is basically as a result of the inaccessibility to credit facilities by the entrepreneurs. This has contributed to its inability to absorb majority of the unemployed.
As said earlier, there is the need to address development problems for the desired growth to be seen. It is in this light that suggested solutions for the identified development problems have been given. The suggested solutions are:
■ Increasing accessibility to credit facilities
The question of collaterals demanded by the banks has always been a problem. It is therefore recommended that banks re-assess their demands on customers and reduce their lending interests to make their loans easily accessible to enterprises.
• To upgrade the skills of those in the service sector
It goes without gainsaying that lack of adequate skills to work results in low efficiency which leads to low productivity. Upgrading the skills of those in the service sector will enhance their efficiency to enable increased productivity.
Catalysts for Growth
Resource availability and usability plays a central role in the development efforts of any society. The District is endowed with some resources and opportunities which could be utilized or taken advantage of to enhance the social and economic development of the District and thus improve the living conditions of its people. The abundance of fine clay deposits at many communities is one of such resources that could be invested into.
They, however, have market limitations in terms of strategies and product improvement. Investing in this area will go along way to generate many employment opportunities and income. These when adequately harnessed will benefit the District in terms of revenue mobilization.
Also the presence of tourist facilities such as discussed in the next sub-section could be made more attractive to tourists to generate more revenue. The relative closeness of the District to Accra, the largest metropolitan city in Ghana, also avails some significant opportunities which could be further exploited. This includes the large and guaranteed market for a wide range of agricultural and non-agricultural goods and services. Thus, farmers and entrepreneurs could be encouraged to increase the output levels to take advantage of the opportunity.
Again, it implies lower transport charges as compared to other Districts that are far. This can reduce production cost. With improvement in road conditions the impact is yet to be felt. Arguably, the most important asset of the District, in terms of natural resources, is the fertile land available which would support the growth of diverse food and tree crops like maize, cassava, and cocoa. Thus, investments in the requisite factors that support agriculture can bring a lot of gains in income, employment and hence poverty reduction.
Refer to pdf file for table.