Unhappy with what it has described as excessive focus on Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), at the expense of local businesses, the Private Enterprises Federation (PEF) has urged the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to equally promote the lot of small and medium enterprises in the country.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Federation, Nana Osei Bonsu, bemoaned the penchant of the GIPC to conveniently compare Ghana with the likes of Malaysia, Thailand and other countries, saying “those countries are authoritarian yet we always glorify ourselves with the democratic dispensation we have here so how do we compare”.
The PEF boss who was speaking during the Investment Opportunities Forum at the Citi FM Business Festival, called for real support for Ghanaian businesses and investors, asserting that, “we are not asking for protectionism; we are asking for support”.
Nana Osei-Bonsu, who said he was not sure if the GIPC CEO had gone round the villages in Ghana to boost domestic investment, mentioned how other countries support their own business by “subsidizing their business to come here [to Ghana].”
“If a business in Holland is coming to explore possibilities in Ghana, they can tap into a resource to do feasibility studies at zero cost to them. Do we have that support in Ghana? No, we don’t.
Businesses, he lamented, have to use their limited resources, in addition to all the studies and research that they need.
“A hotel chain borrows in an enabling business environment at a rate of 3 percent, but a Ghanaian hotel chain borrows at 30 percent,” he said.
For PEF boss, Ghanaian businesses simply are not competitive, hence the need for “support from government to undertake everything we need to allow us to be able to be competitive”.
Responding to his concerns, GIPC CEO, Mr Yoofi Grant said his outfit was committed to the promotion of indigenous businesses, adding that he had visited every nook and cranny in the country and was therefore well informed about the challenges of small businesses.
He admitted that the GIPC needed to start incentivizing local businesses to invest more into the Ghanaian economy.
“The preference is to incentivize indigenous businesses not protect them; because all the history and literature seems to indicate that when you incentivize your local business, they do much better that when you protect them,” he stated.
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