AGI, Chamber of Commerce lauds government * For decision to establish EXIM bank (Nov 21) Pg 3
Two players in industry — the Ghana Chamber of Commerce (GCC) and the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) — have lauded the government’s decision to establish an export and import (EXIM) bank to support the industrial sector.
According to them, the venture would help make capital available to the business community.
The two organisations were given their preliminary responses to the budget prior to the release of their statements on the 2015 Budget presented last Wednesday.
That notwithstanding, the President of the AGI, Mr James Asare-Adjei, said the bank’s credit facilities should be targeted at industry, particularly the manufacturing sector.
“This would help us retool and also buy new equipment to help us take advantage of our local market and the vast West African market. We look forward to more collaboration in addressing the needs of industry.”
He observed that the major challenge facing industry was with micro stability to make industry plan and project its operations.
On the energy crisis, he said there had not been clear medium to long-term indication to deal with the power crisis, especially when the energy sector was the backbone of industry.
He said it was ironic that fuel, which is industry’s saving grace at the time of recurrent energy crisis, had also been increased.
Mr Asare-Adjei said the government needed to revisit some of the laudable ideas in the 2014 budget which included the establishment of a GH¢50 million SMEs fund.
“We didn’t hear anything about that initiative in this budget. It is a crucial initiative that needs to be implemented,” he said.
Chamber of Commerce reacts
The first Vice-President of the GCC, Dr Prosper Adabla, on the other hand, took issues with the inability of the budget to re-orient small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) to go into exports.
Expressing other concerns, he said the budget lacked a concerted effort to strengthen SMEs which were really the breadwinners of the country.
Apart from failing to address interest rates which were a key component of doing business; Dr Adabla said the budget said nothing about reducing the cost of doing business in Ghana.
He observed that “the increase in fuel price will increase the cost of doing business. No country in the world today can succeed without a functioning rail system that takes the stress off road transportation.
“We also did not see any effort from the government to address challenges with agriculture mechanisation in Ghana,” he said.
He said instead of imposing more taxes, the government should outsource its revenue collection to maximise its income.
“The private sector can effectively collect rent tax, property rates, utility bills and other revenues with the exception of CEPS duties,” he said.