AGI urges private sector to support EXIM Bank

By
Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Aug 18, GNA –
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has urged the private sector to
support government’s efforts in the establishment of EXIM Bank- Ghana.

Mr James
Asare-Adjei, the AGI President, said the activities of the bank would inure to
the benefit of industries and businesses in the country.

He said the AGI in
its advocacy, as the leading voices of private sector, had been highlighting
challenges and difficulties which frustrate growth efforts of businesses and
continued to stifle the country’s industrialisation drive.

Mr Asare-Adjei made
the appeal in Accra during the fifth Ghana Economic Forum.

The two-day forum,
which is being organised by the Business & Financial Times (B&FT), is
on the theme: “A Ghanaian-owned economy – setting the agenda for achieving it.”

The theme was chosen
to reflect the increasing need for more high-end jobs and investments in the
economy that would keep monies home, even as foreign direct investments takes
its share away.

The measures put in
place to ensure enabling environment for businesses at the national and
regional levels entail policies, administrative procedures, functional
institutions, enactment of regulations and the state of public infrastructure.

Mr Asare-Adjei urged
businesses in the country to begin to look beyond the domestic market and
explore in all seriousness sub-regional markets, European Union and African
Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

He said the AGI
expects a stable and conductive macro-economic environment that is
harmonisation of monetary and fiscal policies.

He said for
industries and businesses to thrive in the country, there was the need to
create affordable credit for them, not the current 35 per cent and above ;
adding that in Kenya for example interest rate were capped, not above 400 basis
points, now 18 per cent.

He said the exchange
rate volatility made planning very difficult for businesses, resulting in high
foreign exchange losses to companies, adding that in the second half of last
year, however, the cedi was relatively stable probably as a result of
Government’s tight monetary policy.

“A stable cedi
against world major currencies is crucial. High inflation affects cost of doing
business,” he stated.

Mr Asare-Adjei said
businesses were faced with multiplicity of taxes which tended to impact on
competiveness and cost of doing business.

He said this reduced
industries ability to retool, expand and generate more employment.

The AGI President
recommended a review of the current tax regime which would make Ghanaian businesses
competitive adding that there was the need for the Government to ensure
fairness in tax administration, where businesses outside the tax net are
brought in to reduce the tax burden on those which are already tax compliant.

He noted that
government expenditure had been a major concern for the private sector and that
the private sector expects to see true demonstration of fiscal discipline by
government procurements.

He said this would
enable citizens repose confidence in government expenditure.

On energy, Mr
Asare-Adjei said the sector had become very expensive and sapping the financial
resources of local companies.

He said this was
making businesses uncompetitive and making some companies to seriously take a
second look at their investments in Ghana.

Mr Asare-Adjei said
private sector industry expected a reliable, sustainable and affordable power
supply that would not compromise competitiveness of industry.

He urged government
to consider the dedication of hydro plants to industry for power generation to
ensure affordable tariffs.

Mrs Edith Dankwa,
the CEO of B&FT, said coming from the battering of a three-year energy
crisis, hyper-inflation, the most depreciating currency on the continent and
heavy borrowing by government, Ghana was now in a mixed zone of pessimism and
optimism.

“With the
International Monetary Fund stabilising the currency and putting in place
measures for growth which include the taming of the twin-deficits, Ghana is not
only poised for stability but sustained growth,” she said.

GNA

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