Business News of Saturday, 3 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Captains of industry have asked the government to take pragmatic measures to end the energy situation in 2015.
They said the current load shedding exercise was affecting the growth of the industries and stressed the need for government to find a lasting solution to the energy problem.
The President of the Association of Ghana Industries, Mr James Asare-Adjei, and the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Mr George Ofori, made the call in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic.
They were sharing the expectation of the business community for 2015.
Mr Asare-Adjei said it was crucial for the government to treat the energy crisis with urgency.
“I urge the government to, as a matter of policy, put in pragmatic measures to find solution to the cyclical energy situation affecting the growth of industry,” he said.
Mr Ofori said since electricity and water were the main drivers of the economy, it was required of the government to devise ways to ensure their continuous supply.
To him, the creation of a new ministry for power was not enough to end the power situation, but rather the effective use of the human and material resources.
The AGI President said it was the AGI’s expectation that the new year would bring a new lease of business confidence in the business environment of the country.
He said the AGI would work with the government in the implementation of business and development programmes and policies.
Besides, he said the AGI would work with multinational agencies, non-governmental organisations and academia in addressing the challenges that the private sector faced in 2014.
Mr Asare-Adjei mentioned the depreciation of the cedi and the lack of credit as some of the challenges “that will be a thing of the past” in 2015.
He again expected that the macro economy would be stabilised to encourage the growth of businesses.
Mr Ofori said GUTA expected the government to bring the exchange rate from the current 3.1 per cent or 3.2 per cent to its original position of 2.4 per cent.
He again asked the government to consider reducing interest rate and the cost of doing business, especially, at the ports.
Mr Ofori said there were duplications at the ports as importers needed to go through 18 steps of clearing goods from the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the National Security.
He, therefore, appealed to the government to allow only the Customs to be in charge of the clearance of goods at the ports.
“We expect that the customs should be given the way to perform. If they lack equipment, the government should supply it. If the government lacks confidence in the Customs, it could change it,” Mr Ofori said.
“Duplication functions at the ports are making the clearance procedure very costly and cumbersome,” he added.
The GUTA President asked the government to come out with a cross subsidisation policy on energy to subsidise the price of energy for manufacturers.
He said the subsidy would promote the growth of industries and ultimately yield more revenue in terms of taxes for the government and also create more employment.