Gov’t asked to stabilize cedi
Mr. Wilson Attah Krofah, President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), has urged government to manage the economy to ensure the stability of the cedi.
He said in the face of the on-going financial crisis in the world economy, government should also endeavour to control inflation to moderate cost of doing business in Ghana.
At the Chamber’s 37th annual general meeting in Accra, Mr Krofah said the economic situation had deteriorated during the current year, with the performance of the cedi against the dollar recording its worst rate of depreciation in eight years.
He said “from the beginning of the year to date, the cedi depreciated against the US dollar by 22.17 per cent, the highest rate of depreciation since it recorded depreciation of 49.90 per cent in December 2000.”
Mr. Krofah said “consequently, importers are paying more for imports and domestic consumers are faced with higher price of imported goods as the Bank of Ghana has also increased the base rate from 12 per cent to 17 per cent and lending rates have gone up from 18 per cent to 27 per cent.”
He said in the face of those developments the cost of doing business had gone up, and access to credit by the SMEs remained problematic, as also was the cost of credit.
On agriculture, the president said there was the need for government to pay more attention to the call to modernize agriculture and support to indigenous businesses to enable Ghanaians to take the commanding heights of the economy.
“The Chamber also would like the Government to ensure that as much as possible, businesses associated with the oil industry go to Ghanaians particularly the services sector, such as bunkering, transportation, catering, and supply of consumer goods produced in Ghana. Transfer of technology to Ghanaians should also be given top priority attention,” he said.
Mr Krofah also called on the government to allocate government land or office building to the Chamber’s National Secretariat.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of Trade, Industry, PSI and PSD, in a speech read on his behalf said government recognised the private sector as the engine of growth and as a result all structural adjustment programmes were geared towards the growth of the sector.
He said the trade sector support programme was to assist the sector and industry and urged them to explore the numerous opportunities available and take advantage of them.
The Minister therefore urged members to put critical issues such as the world financial crisis and its impart on the Ghanaian business high on their agenda.
The Chamber’s profit and loss account revealed an income surplus of 60,432 Ghana cedis during 2006 through 2007 financial year as against the 48,882 Ghana cedis budgeted for the previous period.