The Ghana Employers Association (GEA), has appealed to the Government to lower non-domestic electricity tariffs to help boost industrial growth in the country.
GEA President, Mr Dan Acheampong, said the Association was pleased to note that the reduction in electricity tariffs in March 2018, particularly for industry, was a welcome development.
He said however, Ghana still remained comparatively high on the price index for electricity tariffs in West Africa.
“This means that Ghana still has some work to do in the area of lowering tariffs even further for industrial and commercial users,” Mr Acheampong stated on Wednesday at the 59th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the GEA in Accra.
“Indeed, it is the GEA’s view that as a country aiming at rapid industrialisation of our economy, we need as a matter of Policy to discriminate some more favour of ‘process’ power as against ‘utility’ power, given the value-addition attribute of the former,” he said.
“Such a move will no doubt, retain investors who are already located in Ghana, as well as attract new local and foreign investors into productive sectors of the economy, thereby creating the much-needed jobs.”
Mr Acheampong further urged the Government to as a matter of urgency accelerate the pace of developing other cost-effective forms of renewable energy in order to enhance Ghana’s pedigree as the business destination for West Africa.
He said the forms of energy were not only cheap in medium to long term, but were also environmentally friendly.
He said another major challenge that inhibited the growth and sustainability of business was counterfeiting and illicit trade, declaring that counterfeit goods eroded consumer confidence in the original brand and led to long term negative effects on local brand revenues.
He said the GEA had noted that the manufacturing sector, which represented a critical mass of the real sector of the Ghanaian economy, was becoming less competitive and this was partly due to illicit and counterfeit trading activities.
“As an Association, we respectfully request that Government provides the regulatory agencies with the requisite resources to strengthen their efforts in combating counterfeit and illicit trade in the country,” Mr Acheampong said.
He hailed the Bank of Ghana’s bold initiatives, from last year through this year, to clean up the banking, micro-finance and savings and loans industry with the objective of bringing sanity and restoring confidence in the sector.
“Admittedly, the cost to the taxpayer of implementing these necessary initiatives would appear huge. On balance however, the GEA firmly believes that the cost of these bold initiatives albeit expensive, pales into insignificance compared to the disastrous consequences that any inertia would have occasioned for the economic and financial health of the country.”
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, lauded the GEA and organised labour for peaceful industrial harmony Ghana was enjoying.
He urged employers to pay their workers’ social security contributions, as well as their tier two pension contributions; adding both payments of contributions were compulsory.
He also advised employers to allow their workers to belong to labour unions and to also go on maternity leave.
The Minister for Business Development, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, said to facilitate the growth of businesses in the country, the Government was working hard to ensure that the cost of borrowing was down.
He said his Ministry would continue to support businesses with the needed finance, so that they would create the jobs and employ more people.