Managing Director of Intercity State Transport Corporation (STC), Nana Akomea, has called on the government to empower local businesses by offering them trade subsidies and tax incentives.
Nana Akomea pleaded on behalf of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) following their complaints and fears that local businesses may soon collapse.
GUTA has threatened to demonstrate against the government stating the cedi depreciation is having a negative toll on trade in Ghana.
“Businesses have reached a situation where their survival is seriously threatened . . . we are calling on the government, as a matter of urgency, to reconvene the Foreign Exchange Committee that was set up a few years ago by the Finance Ministry which involved all relevant stakeholders, to help find an immediate solution,” President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng stated in a release.
“The exacerbation tension that is coming from the trading Committee is huge . . .they believe that if nothing is done about their businesses, their businesses are going to collapse in perpetuity so they are calling for a serious demonstration,” he added.
Reacting to the GUTA concerns, Nana Akomea advised the government to develop a national policy that supports local businesses and discourages importation which is crippling the local market.
Citing how Korea has curtailed imports into their country and promoted their local businesses, with particular mention of their rice producers, Nana Akomea wondered why Ghana cannot block the influx of imports into the country.
Saying “the dollar has become a store of value in our economy. When the dollar increases, it results in high prices in our country. Unfortunately, we depend on the dollar”, he recommended the government must place an outright ban on imports or “tell WTO (World Trade Organization) that we won’t accept this or you will impose a duty on it in such a way that it will be irrelevant to import them”.
He, however, stressed that this vision of making local businesses “number 1” over foreign businesses or local products have a premium over foreign ones will become possible only when local businesses provide quality goods and services.
He charged the government to enter into contracts with the local businesses insisting that, “the thing you will also products will be of a certain quality and certain price over a certain period. But if you are not able to do it, because we have given you subsidized electricity, subsidized water, and tax rebate, we should be able to punish you”.