more attention and offered due recognition to local investors and indigenous companies, the local industrial climate will continue to look gloomy and depressing.
In an interview with Spectator Business, Mr Mensah said the preponderance of incentives to foreign investors at the expense of their local counterparts is a real disincentive to those wealthy Ghanaians who would want to invest in the country.
Comparing Ghana to countries like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, he said those countries duly encouraged foreign investment but also motivated their own citizens to invest in their countries, which is good for overall investment prospects as well as the national psyche.
“In those countries, the right environment is created for local investment just as foreign investors are equally motivated, so that the overall industrial picture is clearly fair and balanced, and local investors don’t feel lost out,” he said.
“It gives the local investor the urge to invest in his own country because he is supported, motivated and protected from undue competition from outside.”
He noted for instance that certain countries like Nigeria strictly restrict the importation of certain goods to give their local companies that leverage they need to grow.
While hoping that government policies will from now become more favourable to motivate local moneybags to invest in the economy, he hoped that this will be further complemented by a more predictable and stable economic environment that should bolster companies to perform better.
“Companies are more comfortable where there is some predictability in the overall economic policy direction of the country,” he said. “For instance where interest rates are changed in a progressive manner there will be a predictable economic environment congenial for business practice,” he said.
Asked if companies will fare better this year, Mr Mensah said the global recession has slowed down Ghana’s economic prospects; people have less money to spend and the cost of conducting business has gone up because the cost of credit is up.
“It will, however, take the effective management of government to provide that auspicious environment for business to thrive,” he added.
Martyn Mensah also said the poor savings culture of Ghanaians was not helping people and the financial sector. He said the banks and financial institutions need to roll out better policies that would encourage people to save, build capital and invest in businesses. He alluded to people finding it difficult to save because packages presented to them are not favourable, and some feel that inflation, low interests and bank charges will wipe off their meagre savings.
He lamented the materialistic lifestyle of Ghanaians and the unnecessary investment they make into things like funerals and four-wheel drives, instead of thinking about putting what they have into viable businesses.
Mr Mesnah took the opportunity to urge Ghanaians to be disciplined and responsible, so that “it will be the collective responsibility to make Ghana a more habitable place to live instead of the filth that spells a looming danger for this country in the foreseeable future.”