GUTA calls for bold policies to support economic recovery

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has called on the Government and the Bank of Ghana to institute bold policies to improve the business environment and attract private capital to bolster economic growth.

It said a more efficient business environment through improved rule of law, protection of property rights, transparency and accountability would help to attract both foreign direct investments (FDIs) and boost Small and Medium Enterprises activities, which were critical to the ongoing economic rebound.

Mr Paul Kofi McCarthy, the Central Regional Chairman of the Association, said: “The county’s economic growth could have been on a positive trajectory if bold policies to control inflation, exchange rate volatility or depreciation, fuel prices, and unemployment were rigorously pursued.”

Beyond inflation and depreciation, which were derailing business confidence, he mentioned external financing conditions, lingering supply chain bottlenecks, and the effects of the protracted Russia-Ukraine war, as challenges that could hamper growth, hence the need for bold policies to limit the effects.

Mr McCarthy said business confidence among GUTA members had declined as a result of price pressures and currency depreciation adversely impacting profit margins and sustainability.

However, he gave the assurance that the country’s prospects for growth were bright despite the current inflationary challenges, adding “political and macroeconomic stability would contribute immensely to regaining investor confidence.”

“Therefore, the government must create and maintain the conducive investment environment, which guarantees the safety of investments to yield good returns.”

Mr McCarthy also called for aggressive public-private partnership in agriculture, building and construction, general trading, manufacturing, oil and gas, and tourism to accelerate growth.

“We are hopeful that with solid private sector participation, we can develop the country as a strong production centre with the potential to connect us to the West African sub-region and beyond.

He said, under the new GIPC Act, 2013 (Act 865), all enterprises in the country with foreign participation were required to register with the GIPC.

The minimum capital required for retail business had moved from US$300,000 to $1 million, while foreign investors who participate in joint venture enterprises had to show a minimum capital of $200,000 with wholly owned foreign enterprises showing a minimum capital of $500,000.

“The illegal foreign traders must be called to order because they have taken over our market rendering many of our youth unemployed,” he said.

“They are competing with us for consumer space with their cheap imports because the cost of borrowing in their country is cheap, unlike Ghana with high interest rates. Government must do all it can to stop them,” he appealed.

Source: GNA

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