Business News of 2014-01-24

‘Don’t treat indigenous businesses like orphans’

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kasapreko Company Limited, Mr. Kwabena Adjei says indigenous businesses need all the support from state officials to grow, expand and create opportunities instead of being treated as though they are orphans.

He says the tendency for some ministers and other officials of state to favour foreign investors in Ghana over indigenous entrepreneurs can be disheartening as it creates the impression that they are orphans.

Mr. Adjei was welcoming Trade and Industry Minister, Haruna Iddrisu to a facility tour of the Kasapreko factory, brewers of herbal-based alcoholic beverages.

“Most of the time, the ministers of trade, make us not very comfortable, I must be frank here. So you taking your time to visit us, my heart is at peace today. At times I feel that we are being orphaned by some of the government ministers. Instead of putting the premium upon us who are the captains of industry, most of the times most of the government officials rather orphan us and go looking for the big guys we call foreign investors.”

He said a typical instance of official disregard for local businesses is found in the imposition of a “Commissioner’s Value” on imports by Ghanaian businesses against the properly valued customs duties, creating the impression that all entrepreneurs engage in under invoicing and other acts to cheat the system.

“When you say commissioner’s value, what does it mean? It means that we are not doing the right thing, we are rather telling lies, but I can tell you, I can tell all the young men and ladies here, that Kwabena Adjei, myself, I can say with emphasis that you can make business, pay all your taxes and make genuine money,” saying it is unfair for all successful business people to be lumped up as criminals.

Mr. Adjei said Kasapreko, established some two decades ago and presently employing 444 permanent and contract workers, has been highly successful on account of hard work, innovation and teamwork. It paid over GH?53 million in Value Added and Excise taxes as well as over GH?27 million in import duties and about GH?6.5 million as corporate tax.

He maintained that local industries have high potential to create wealth and jobs for the people and should be supported.

Government responds

The Trade Minister, Haruna Iddrisu said his visit to the company was to join in celebrating Kasapreko and its Chief Executive as an epitome of industrial and entrepreneurial success that need to be supported.

He reiterated President John Mahama’s vision of fostering a strong partnership between the public and private sectors and to give practical support to Ghanaian industrialists who embark on viable undertakings, contribute tax revenue to the state and to government, and provide livelihood for employees.

“I note your discontent, particularly in the hands of customs officials and their attempt to question your integrity and reputation. Let me say that I’ll act expeditiously on your concerns and trust that they will treat you fairly in the years to come and deal with you as a successful business person,” he said.

The minister also implored all Ghanaian businesses to uphold high ethics in their dealings with government and the public at large, saying “We expect that just as you’ve demonstrated, you have shown more honesty and more integrity, we expect same from more of the players.”

He said government had already initiated a programme to provide some tax incentives for local businesses using local raw materials and said there was need for further consultations to expand the facility to enhance coverage.

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