The members also expressed concern about the huge corporate tax on rural businesses which stood at 25 percent, the burden of import levies on local industries and the unfriendly cost of doing business.
Another critical area of concern according to them was the massive whip up of interest in entrepreneurship among the youth and unemployment without the commiserate structures and enabling environment for capital acquisition into such start-ups.
Mr Samaad Yussif, a Relationship Manager who addressed a breakfast meeting organised by GEA in Takoradi pointed out that the Bank of Ghana policy ‘on no collateral no credit’ has made it difficult for banks to support start-ups, adding “Elsewhere, a good idea is enough for financial support”.
On bridging industry and academia gap, Mr Yussif said every course was useful to the socio-economic development of a country, adding “though I did economics and philosophy, I must confess that it is the philosophy that is helping in my work…the classics, history, music, philosophy are still relevant and Ghana must develop and tap into these areas for growth”.
Mr Yusif therefore called for the ironing out of educational mismatch in terms of courses and development, make room for brilliant ideas with capital support and zero taxes for rural businesses to halt rural urban migration.
Mr Oti Asirifi, Senior Assistant Lecturer of the Takoradi Technical University said there was the need for employers to make good use of section 46 of the labour Act which gave some leverage to companies that employed people with disabilities.
Mr Alex Frimpong, the Chief Executive Officer of the GEA said the primary objective of the Breakfast meeting was to bring employers in the region together to solicit their views on the key issues that must engage the attention of the Association in the ensuing years.
The outcome of the meeting would be compiled into a new Business Agenda (BA) that would be the Blueprint of the Association’s advocacy actions from 2019 to 2022.
The GEA Business Agenda 2019-2022 would outline the strategic issues the Association should pursue during the next three years and would focus on key economic, labour and social policies that were critical to the growth and competitiveness of the private sector.
In all, the GEA members agreed that high cost of doing business, Skills Development, Lack of engagement between MMDAs and businesses, inadequate incentives to move businesses to operate in the rural economy.
Others are unfavourable trade policies, High counterfeit and illicit trade, bureaucratic and regulatory challenges, High unemployment rate, are critical issues hampering the growth and competitiveness of members and the private sector in general and needed to be incorporated and addressed in the Business Agenda.
The GEA encouraged employers who were not yet members to join the Association to enable a collective advocacy towards a congenial business environment.