‘Business confidence inches down in first quarter’

Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Business Barometer for the first quarter of this year showed that business confidence fell marginally compared with that of the last quarter of 2017.

The business confidence index dropped to 100.5 from 107.9 recorded in the fourth quarter of last year.

The President of the AGI, Dr Yaw Adu Gyamfi, said while the first quarter of 2018 saw a number of positive signs including a good mix of the macroeconomic indicators, the business confidence seemed to be waning.

“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 said.

Dr Adu Gyamfi said the AGI National Council would want to see proactive government policies to deal with the challenges facing businesses.

First, the AGI would want to see that only a private sector-led industrial development with mutual support from public institutions to enforce import regulations will help check huge revenue loses, create sustainable employment and growth of the Ghanaian economy.

AGI further notes that manufacturing which represents a critical mass of the real sector of the economy was becoming less competitive.

It called for enhanced collaboration between the AGI and the Customs Division of the GRA to help check malpractices such as under-invoicing, under-declaration and erroneous description of imports in order to save manufacturing from the threat of collapse.

According to the Association, delays and charging of unofficial fees still persisted, undermining trade facilitation programmes and reforms introduced last year.

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

“The paperless system is a welcome initiative, though it has not fully addressed all the challenges. To this end, AGI appreciates the discussions and institutional collaboration with the GRA and relevant institutions to help check malpractices at the ports,” Dr Adu Gyamfi said.

The AGI while commending the passage of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) said it would want to see the impact of the work of the Commission on cases of consumer protection and unfair trade practices against the local economy.

 

Source: Business Desk

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