Prime News Ghana

Chamber of Commerce welcomes Bawumia's policy proposals for growth of private sector

By Vincent Ashitey
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The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has embraced a number of policies Vice President and Flagbearer of the NPP, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has proposed to boost the private sector under his government.

At his maiden policy address to the nation ad flagbearer last month, Dr. Bawumia said, the private sector will play a crucial role in his government, and announced a number of policies, including tax cuts, which he said, will boost business friendliness and make the private sector competitive.

At a stakeholder consultation between Vice President Bawumia and members of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Accra on Wednesday, the Chamber welcomed a number of Dr. Bawumia's proposals and also made some suggestions to him.

"The Chamber shares your vision as clearly stated in your National address on your vision for Ghana which seeks to create a tent big enough to accommodate all our people , to tap into the resourcefulness and talents, irrespective of our different ethnic political and religious backgrounds, to channel our energies into building the kind of country sufficient, safe, prosperous and dignified future for all Ghanaians, to create sustainable jobs with meaningful play for all, and for Ghana to participate fully in the fourth industrial revolution using systems and data," said the President of the Chamber, Dr. Clement Osei Amoako.

"The Chamber believes that in order to achieve this vision partnership with the private sector must be an element of major focus especially as you seek to participate significantly in the fourth industrial revolution."

The Chamber added that for businesses and the private sector to thrive, as Dr. Bawumia envisages, there should be significant reduction in budget deficit to prevent competition with the private sector for funds, and as such, supported Dr. Bawumia's pledge to amend the fiscal Responsibility Act.

"Thus, the Chamber supports your position to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act to add fiscal rule that requires that budgeted expenditure in any year does not exceed 105% of the previous year's tax revenue."

"As indicated in your vision, the Chamber also acknowledged the need for government to partner with the private sector to provide public infrastructure. However, government must be committed to its payments to contractors. This will incentivize private businesses to contribute to infrastructure provision and reduce pressure on limited government revenue."

While making some recommendations on tax system to the Vice President, the Chamber also supported Dr. Bawumia's vision to introduce a new tax regime to boost businesses.

"In relation to the tax system, the Chamber shares in your vision to simplify the corporate tax and VAT system, which is currently cumbersome to businesses and the revision of the tax rate you intend to implement."

"The Chamber supports your intention to provide tax amnesty and implement tax digitalization across all aspects of tax administration to ensure that everyone files a tax return. This will help reduce pressure on the few businesses in the formal sector," the Chamber of Commerce President noted.

Responding to a number of proposals and comments from members of the Chamber, Dr. Bawumia expressed delight at their proposals, which he said, are in line with his vision of creating a friendly and competitive environment for the private sector to thrive.

"It is very important that we become business friendly and a tax competitive country for the private sector to thrive. We need to be able to bring interest rate down for businesses to be competitive. We need stability in the exchange rate. We also need predictability in import duties to avoid uncertain tariff or consistent upward adjustments, which affects businesses."

"Going forward, we won't to be doing the same things. I want us to do new things we have not done before. We have done so much in social intervention. It is now time to focus on the private sector. The time for businesses and the private sector to thrive is now."