The Graphic Communications Group Ltd (GCGL), in partnership with Fidelity Bank Limited on Thursday organised a breakfast meeting for the business community to exchange ideas on the prospects of the economy.
The meeting which is the second in the series to be organised this year is on the theme: “The Economy and Prospects for Business Confidence.”
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, Managing Director of GCGL, said the event comes at a time when business sentiments on the economy are dim due to current challenges which include the depreciating of the cedi, energy crisis and rising cost of finance.
He said the meeting was therefore, expected to give speakers and participants the opportunity to suggest ways that the country could reverse the tide, to be able to raise economic growth.
Mr Seth Terpker, Minister of Finance, said key measures aimed at restoring fiscal and external stabilities continue to be implemented by government as part of its medium-term plans to get the economy back on track.
He said the gains made so far have been challenged by the setbacks in commodity prices on the global arena, which saw a fall in the prices of gold, cocoa and crude oil – major sources of Ghana’s foreign exchange.
He said the current energy deficit and inflation increases has not only affected the cost of doing business, but has also resulted in revenue shortfalls, resulting in a decline in the general economic output.
Mr Terpker said government is currently embarking on a number of interventions including an export-led growth strategy in accordance with Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda II and the provision of incentives for private sector growth and development to help boost revenue.
Mr James Asare-Adjei, President of the Association of Ghana Industries, urged government consider key factors such as: policy credibility and consistency, a stable macro-economic environment for planning, ensure availability of sustained power supply and vigorously pursue policy interventions that would address the numerous macro-economic crises.
He also urged government to minimise its borrowing and maintain a high level of fiscal discipline, because it is greatly affecting the private sector, particularly, small and medium Scale enterprises.
He said stabilising the falling Cedi against the major trading currencies is central to restoring investor confidence as it affects businesses, and urged government to urgently come up with strict measures to address the problem.
Mr Asare-Adjei said there is currently a high level of optimism and pessimism among investors and business operators about the prospects of their companies and organisations, due to the economic uncertainties, and called for the need to dispel the speculation and panic-buying of forex.
He expressed worry over the unfair competition from importers due to the failure of government to create a favorable business environment for local industries and build their capacities to be able to meet both local and international market standards.
He also complained about the current tax regime, which involves multiplicity of taxes, the deregulation policy, and high lending rates of banks and other financial institutions, which has led to the crippling of a number of businesses.
Mr Asare-Adjei said the situation has led particularly to the sinking of the manufacturing sector. GNA