The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has appealed to the government to use the 2022 budget to reduce the cost of doing business and strengthen companies to spur economic recovery.
The business advocacy group also urged the government to resist the temptation to introduce new taxes in the budget, given the hardship businesses are facing at the moment.
The President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, said in an interview that although the private sector was doing its best in the build-back agenda, it had been dampened by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of transaction.
Consequently, Dr Obeng said the budget, which would be presented to Parliament next Monday, must introduce policies to ease the burden on businesses and fast track the recovery.
The GUTA President made the appeal shortly after the executive members of the association paid a courtesy call on the Ga Mantse, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, at his residence in Accra.
The visit was to strengthen the relations between GUTA and the Ga Traditional Council to help grow sustainable businesses in the country.
Dr Obeng said the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had affected businesses so much such that any introduction of taxes in the 2022 budget would lead to the collapse of businesses.
“This year saw the introduction of new taxes and so we are not expecting another layer of cost in doing business to be added. Businesses have started showing signs of fatigue in terms of tax payment so the introduction of new taxes will make businesses collapse,” he stated.
According to the GUTA President, the fees and commission paid by business in the country were way higher than what pertained in the sub-region.
He said the disparity in cost made it difficult for businesses in the country to compete with their peers in the sub-region.
“In the wake of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we should think about how to reduce the cost of doing business and not increase it,” he said.
Earlier, the GUTA president congratulated the Ga Mantse on his enstoolment and pledged to work with him to advance the cause of his territory and businesses.
Dr Obeng said in the past, paramountcies evolved around trading, with traditional leaders playing critical roles in ensuring peace for businesses to thrive in Ghana.
He said GUTA was keeping to that tradition by ensuring harmonious relations between its members and traditional authorities in places they operated.
“As we all know, the King has just been enstooled as the Ga Mantse. Since we believe in tradition, we have come to show our support to him and as subjects, we promise to abide by the laws of the Ga State to ensure sanity in the country. We have come to show reverence to the King and let him know how prepared we are to collaborate with the Ga Traditional Council to address issues that bother us and see the way forward to help grow our economy,” Dr Obeng added.
The Ga Mantse expressed appreciation to the executive of GUTA for the visit and said a meeting would be scheduled for both parties to deliberate on how best they could collaborate to help grow businesses in the country.