High Utility Tariffs Hamper Business Growth

ECG PixHigh utility tariffs and additional taxes have been identified as some of the key challenges confronting businesses in Ghana in the last quarter of 2013, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Business Barometer has revealed.

In addition, the survey cited high cost of raw materials as among the challenges to business growth in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The business barometer indicator is a statistical mean of situation and expectation within the business environment where industries access the performance of businesses in Ghana.

Presenting the findings at a press conference in Accra, Seth Twum-Akwaboah, Chief Executive Officer of AGI, said this development has rendered businesses operating in the country non-competitive, hence the need for policy makers to address the problems facing the industries to make them more competitive.

He suggested the introduction of regular supply of gas to fire power generation plants to serve as an alternative source of power supply.

According to the AGI survey, inadequate access to credit and cost of credit has been a major brunt of constraint to the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Overall, the fourth quarter saw a drop in the level of optimism among business operators compared with the third quarter as only 55 per cent of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) interviewed were positive about the environment compared with 66.7 per cent in the third quarter.

Mr. Twum-Akwaboah was unhappy with the way businesses in Ghana keep declining, citing a business barometer indicator of 26.7 which showed a significant loss of confidence in the business environment in the fourth quarter compared to 40.8 in the third quarter of 2013.

He said if government does not check the trend, businesses in Ghana would lose confidence in the economy and invest elsewhere.

Mr. J. Asare Adjei, President of AGI cited the manufacturing and service sectors as the areas that suffered from high utility tariffs.

He said that the construction and agriculture sectors could experience much transformation and contribute massively to the economic growth, if the challenges were addressed. By Collins Boateng 

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