AGI’s Business Barometer
AGI’s Business Barometer

AGI’s flagship business barometer conducted for the period of January to March has shown a marginal drop in business confidence in the country from 107.9 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 100.5 in the first quarter of 2018.

The report indicated that, the decline was as a result of pressure businesses underwent in the country, especially in connection with access to credit and the high cost of credit.

According to the Association’s President Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi, addressing the media in Accra, he said, even though the first quarter of 2018 experienced some positive signs including a good mix of the macroeconomic indicators, business confidence also seems to be dwindling.

He reiterated that, “Businesses have been under pressure from the high cost of credit, access to credit, delayed payments, particularly our contractors, the high cost of electricity prior to the announcement of the reduction of tariffs by the PURC.”

Dr. Adu-Gyamfi however underscored the need for the Association to put in place pragmatic measures to forestall any unforseen hurdles in the business sector.

Elaborating that, there is the need for a private sector-led industrial development with mutual support from public institutions to enforce import regulations which will help check huge revenue loses and create sustainable employment as well as growth of the economy.

However, he said collaboration between the AGI and the Customs Division of the GRA must be further strengthened to curb malpractices such as under-invoicing, under-declaration and erroneous description of imports in order to save manufacturing from the threat of collapse.

Dr. Adu-Gyamfi said, delays and charging of unofficial fees still persist, thus undermining trade facilitation programmes and reforms introduced in 2017. Adding that, “The paperless system is a welcome initiative, though it has not fully addressed all the challenges. However, the Association appreciates the discussions and institutional collaboration with the GRA and relevant institutions to help check malpractices at the ports.”

According to the President, the Association commends the passage of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), and therefore looks forward to seeing the impact of the work of the Commission on cases of consumer protection and unfair trade practices against the local economy.

To this end, Dr. Adu-Gyamfi said, “The Association pledges its support for the Commission to the effect of setting up a private sector committee to closely monitor the work of the GITC.

Again, the Association urges Government to expedite action on the 1D1F initiative, considering the slow pace of its implementation. Thus a lot more businesses are anxious to see a clear support from Government. They also lauded government for the recent reduction in electricity tariffs from 25% to 30% reduction which brings relief to consumers.

The Association is however calling on government for the passage of the following key policies for enabling environment accessibility.
The local content law for the construction sector. A form of credit certificate to offset outstanding statutory payments to local contractors. There is also the need for a legislation to cushion contractors who suffer delayed payments in view of the huge pre-financing costs.

The duplication of mandates and services by some regulatory bodies at the ports is very worrying. It says the industry cannot bear the cost of such services already being delivered hence recommends the augmentation of existing structures to avoid excessive bureaucracy and undue costs to the businesses.

AGI is also urging government forhis close attention to the development of tourism in Ghana, considering the fact that it is the 4th highest foreign exchange earner in the country. As well as strict implementation of the 15-year tourism development program and also ensure that tourist destinations are well-developed.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh

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