Business News of 2014-05-14

AGI bemoans high property, business operating permit rates

The Ashanti and Brong Ahafo branch of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) wants Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the regions to review their property and business operating permit rates.

According to the association, the high rates are killing the local businesses.

The AGI said that apart from the rates being too high, the business community also complained of being left out of the discussions leading to the implementation of the review of these rates.

According to the business community within the regions, the high property rates and business operating permits were disincentives to the business sector and the promotion of private sector in job creation in the country.

Speaking at the sensitisation workshop organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) for the business community in the Ashanti region, the Regional Chairman of AGI, Nana Kwakye Nketia, appealed to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) not to arbitrarily increase their rates to the detriment of local business.

Early this year, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly increased its business operating permits by 1000 per cent, and this did not go down well with the business community.

The Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Yaw Adusei, also supported the call by the business community and admitted that the rates were a bit exorbitant and “does not attract investors into the region.”

He said if more businesses were allowed to operate, this would open more avenues for job creation and expansion, making the assemblies rake in more revenues.

He said in spite of the central location of the region and its good environment, the region was not benefitting from its investment opportunities and appealed to MMDAs to look for the opportunities within their areas and write proposals to seek partnership to develop these opportunities into viable ventures.

Forum to attract investors

As part of measures to attract more investments into the region, he said the Regional Co-ordinating Council in collaboration with the Asanteman Council and the Millennium City Initiative and the business school of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) would be organising a forum to attract investment into the region.

The Director for Investor Services Division of GIPC, Mr Augustine Otoo, also decried the low investment in the region in spite of the many opportunities available.

He appealed to businessmen in the region to register with the centre to enable them access all the incentives thereof to enable them to grow their businesses.

Mr Otoo advised local businessmen to be always open and flexible to allow others to join them in their business and share the risks and the opportunities involved.

He said the centre was there to assist the businesses to grow and called for project proposals to enable them to get partnership to build a viable business community in the region.

According to him, though the Ashanti region has the second highest number of businesses registered with GIPC, it is fast losing this position to the Western region, which is fast attracting more businesses as a result of the oil and gas find.

Mr Otoo asked the business community to avail themselves of the opportunities at the centre and not to hesitate to consult it whenever it faced any challenges because “we are here to help you grow.”