Businesses’ quest to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic are further undermined by rising cost of capital, taxes and utilities, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has said.
Its president, Clement Osei-Amoako, said these factors coupled with high inflation at 28 percent and a free-falling currency in the face of devastating disruptions left by the pandemic have made the operating environment extremely difficult for businesses. He said this during a meeting with Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in Accra.
“The Chamber’s evidence-based advocacy in addition to engagements with the business community and policymakers have shown these critical issues affecting the private sector require a thorough micro-approach that will provide the enablers for attaining the macro policies being implemented by government,” he said.
Between 2017 and 2019, he said, government succeeded in ensuring economic stability. Unfortunately, the recovery process after the pandemic is facing severe challenges and is way off expectations. As a result, he said, many of the Chamber’s members are being forced out of business.
More worryingly, he said, the long-standing problems of inflation and cedi vulnerability have got to levels where, if collective efforts are not made, they may jeopardise efforts to boost economic recovery.
All these factors, he observed, have resulted in the tough conditions being experienced by businesses and Ghanaians at large; and the Chamber’s visit to Dr. Bawumia was to learn at first-hand government’s efforts to ease the situation and how the GNCCI can be of support.
He opined that most of the policies taken to curb the crisis have fallen short because of the central bank’s demand approach – the demand for currency by people plus the demand for reserves by banks.
In response, Vice President Dr. Bawumia acknowledged the challenges – noting that it will take the collective efforts of both government and the private sector to address current economic difficulties.
He hinted that an impending Cabinet meeting, which will include the president and the economic management team, will come out with alternative measures to resolve the current challenges.
“We do not know what is coming and when it will end, therefore countries that position themselves well with the private sector will be the winners at the end of the day,” the Vice President added.
He said efforts to digitalise the economy and promote financial inclusion, and government’s holistic approach to addressing the current challenges, will soon improve the business environment.
Other members of the GNCCI delegation included Victoria M. E. Hajar, First Vice-President; Stephane Miezan, Second Vice-President; and Mark Badu-Aboagye, Chief Executive Officer.