The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has on behalf of the private sector in Ghana, and its partner institutions, commended government for its efforts at harnessing the economy and creating an enabling environment for private sector growth.
At a press briefing at the Chamber’s office in Accra, President of the GNCCI, Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso l, said the chamber welcomes the reduction of the monetary policy rate by 200 basis points to 18%, by the BoG, explaining that, access to cheap credit is fundamental to the growth and development of businesses, particularly, in the SMEs and start-ups where they are encouraged by low interest rates to increase their level of investments over a certain period of time.
“We have observed with keen interest the rebound of the Ghanaian economy from a lowest growth of 3.6% in 2016, over the last decades to 7.9% mainly by the recovery in non-oil sectors, lower inflation, and new hydrocarbon wells,” Nana stated.
According to Nana, the lagged effect of the reduction in the monetary policy rate, which reflects the cost of banking and efficiency in the banking sector, is a major concern to the private sector.
Adding that, Ghana is noted with the highest banking lending rate of 35.5% in Africa, and second to Brazil with 55.06% in the world according to Trading Economics.
In the light of these, he noted that, businesses are compelled to access short-term credit with high interest rates for their long-term investment, stressing “We cannot continue undermining the competitiveness of these businesses and eroding their profits with high interest rates.”
Nana again emphasized that, the reduction in electricity tariffs, which takes effective by April 1st, 2018, would ease the cost of doing business and as well bring relief to Ghanaians.
He also noted that, the indefinite suspension of the proposed ‘fumigation levy’ of import VAT on the 64 commodity groups including, but not limited to, tractors for agricultural purposes, outboard motors, mortar mixers, day-old chicks, solar cells, mobile phone, which begun on 1st March, 2018, is welcoming as it will reduce the cost of doing business at the port, ease the burden on the ordinary tax payer, and bring sanity at the port.
Nonetheless, he urged government to harmonize Ghana’s economy in order to sustain the gains made in the country’s trade balance, which recorded a surplus of $545.5 (1.1% of GDP) in February 2018, which represents an 18% increase over same period in 2017 mainly on the account of higher export receipts from crude oil, and as well address the perennial depreciation of the cedi against major currencies as well.
Nana Dr. Appiagyei Dankawoso I, commended government, the security services and other stakeholders for their immense contribution in protecting the peace and stability of Ghana’s security, but then, he encouraged the government to be firm and fair in applying the rule of law.
On other hand, “we call on citizens and Ghanaians to exercise their civic rights and responsibilities in the interest of Ghana. We have one Ghana and we need to protect for our collective gain,” he called.
As part of efforts to boost intra-African trade, the GNCCI in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) is undertaking the project, “Enhancing the Capacity of the Business Community in ECOWAS for Boosting Intra-African Trade”.
This project, seeks to provide a platform for information sharing among stakeholders, promote the application of ECOWAS Common External Tariff and ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) through capacity building on the utilisation of the User’s Guide and ETLS, and as well seek to harness the awareness of 30 members of the business community and member companies of each of the 15 national chambers of commerce in the ECOWAS region about the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
Meanwhile, Nana said the GNCCI would continue to execute its legislative mandate of promoting and protecting commercial and industrial interests in the country and called on all state and non-state actors, for their support.
Source: Sammy Adjei