Ghanaian businessmen are too greedy - Ken Agyapong

By Muhammed Ali

Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong has ascribed greed as the reason Ghanaian businesses are losing their market space to their foreign counterparts.

According to him many local businesses are collapsing because of the rush to make excessive profits. Some Ghanaian businessmen and women do this by going to China to import cheap products and then inflate the prices on the local market for huge margins.

He explained that the Chinese who are in competition with the locals know their territory very well and will usually import goods that are of moderate quality and sell it for cheap, but the Ghanaian will acquire the cheapest and still inflate the price and sell it for more. 

His comment follows agitations by members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) who called on the government to enforce a ban prohibiting foreign businesses from engaging in retail business in the country.

Among other things, they argued that such foreign businesses are hurting the economy because they do not pay Value Added Taxes (VAT) which leaves them with a higher profit margin.

They said if the government does not do anything about their plight, they will be forced to take drastic actions to carry home their demands which include a refusal to pay the VAT.

However contributing to a radio discussion, Mr Agyepong maintained local businessmen "should search themselves why people are taking over their business before they start complaining".

"Until we change our ways, foreigners will continue taking our jobs", he stressed.

According to the Assin Central legislator, foreign countries are now abandoning Ghanaian exports because of dubious business ethics and advised GUTA members to be ethical in their business dealings, adding that before one engages in business they should let honesty be their guiding principle before hard work, with the ability to save and invest complementing the whole package.

He was however quick to add that the foreign invasion of the retail market and the subsequent collapse of local businesses should be blamed on the financial sector as well.

Mr Agyapong believes the banks in connivance with foreign companies are making it difficult for local businesses to survive due to outrageous interest rates, and questioned how a local business is supposed to survive when a bank is charging interest rate in the region of 36 percent. These same banks he maintained are much more liberal with foreigners with regards to interest rates.

The MP noted such harsh financial terms from the banks is what is suffocating Ghanaian businesses which at the end of the day have to compete with the foreign businesses.