Business News of Tuesday, 25 July 2017
The Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) has called for a review of the minimum threshold for one to qualify to be a strategic investor in the country.
According to PEF, the $50 million investment required for one to qualify as a strategic investor was unfavourable for Ghanaians and called for a review to allow indigenous people to qualify and enjoy the same incentives that are associated with it.
“How many Ghanaians have that kind of amount; we don’t have it but we also need to enjoy the incentives to grow so that threshold must be reviewed,” the President of PEF, Nana Osei Bonsu, said at a forum in Accra at the weekend.
He was speaking during a panel discussion dubbed: ‘Power Breakfast Event’ organised by the Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce (CANCHAM). It was on the theme: “Promoting joint venture partnerships with foreign investors”.
There has been a debate about why the government had enacted laws that favour foreign investors to the detriment of indigenous Ghanaians.
These among other things, Mr Osei-Bonsu said, must be reviewed to ensure that Ghanaians benefitted from the incentives foreigners were enjoying.
On joint ventures, he advocated another review of the law to compel foreigners to form joint ventures or form partnerships with Ghanaian companies when they applied to come in to invest.
In his reponse, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Mr Yofi Grant, said the centre had begun a series of engagements with stakeholders to solicit their views on aspects of the investment laws that needed to be reviewed.
He said it was the determination of the government to make the private sector strive and also encourage Ghanaians to strive to become multimillionaires and billionaire businessmen and women.
“So if it so be that we need to have the reviews on joint ventureship and partnerships, why not, we will readily do so,” he said.
However, he noted that whichever way it goes, the bottom line is for investments to come in no matter the source.
“We are peer reviewing countries such as Rwanda and Cote D ’Ivoire and also learning from bigger countries so that when we move in full force, we can be better,” he said.
Meanwhile, he encouraged Ghanaian businesses to register their businesses with the GIPC to enable them to enjoy the incentives as per their foreign counterparts.
“It is not true that the incentives given are only meant for foreigners; it is for any company or business that registers their business”, he said.
According to him, registering a business required exposure to the books of the company and that, many Ghanaian companies were shying from.
Mr Grant said the incentives ranged from tax breaks to tax holidays which could make local businesses thrive.
He told the gathering that there were investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
“It is the intention of the government to use cheap sources of energy to drive its industrialisation policies,” Mr Grant said.
According to him, for industries to thrive, they required cheaper sources of energy to beat down their cost of operations.
He mentioned for instance, the one-district, one-factory initiative saying that, for it to be successful,the cost of energy must be lower and sustainable to make it attractive.
Mr Grant said Canada had much expertise in that area and expressed the determination of the centre to work hand in hand with the Canadians to learn more about that sector and also drive investments from that country.
Reacting to a question regarding why there was no portal on genuine Ghanaian businesses in the country, the GIPC CEO said the centre was developing a portal with the collaboration of the Register General’s Department to enable investors to identify companies they could partner with.
That, he said, was to end the situation where foreigners fell prey to fraudulent individuals who purported to own a business and intended to form partnerships with foreign companies but were not existing in actual fact.
According to him, that process was expected to be completed by the end of the year to enable foreigners access it for their perusal.