Business News of 2014-07-30

Reconsider trade liberalisation policy - AGI boss

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has urged government to take a second look at the trade liberalisation policy to protect local industries.

Consequently, it has suggested that government introduce a tax regime that provides a disincentive to importing raw materials that exist locally.

“Nobody can promote our local brands better than ourselves, particularly at a time when our borders are wide open to imports. Our economy has become over-liberalised,” Mr. Asare Adjei, the President of the Association said at the investiture of the Advertiser Association of Ghana.

He said the trade liberalisation policy has led to the influx of foreign products on the Ghanaian market, adding that the policy comes with drawbacks that local industries are compelled to contend with.

“Over the years our local products continue to be displaced by foreign goods. Our concern as industrialists has been the measures government can put in place to mitigate the impact of such influx of imports on local businesses while still promoting international trade.

He expressed worry about the fact that Made-in-Ghana goods have little shelf-space and prominence in most sales outlets.

“We are at a point in our lives as a country where we need to look at import substitution, such that we look from within and ensure that we eat what we produce and produce what we need,” he said.

He said though the AGI is not against competition, the influx and unfair competition from foreign brands however put much pressure on local business.

According to him, the association will continue to engage with government to ensure a favourable business environment in the country.

He said the challenges facing the economy are the number-one subject-matter that preoccupies everybody’s mind. He said industries expect a quick restoration of the macro-economic condition to halt the cedi slide at the moment, while implementation of long-term strategies could help build a robust economy.

“Our current situation requires very short-term measures that could stabilise our economy as quickly as possible. Indeed, the present economic situation continues to take a heavy toll on businesses.”

Mr. Adjei told the practitioners that like any other practice, advertising must be guided by its professional ethics and regulation to complement efforts of the National Communication Authority.

“Content for print and electronic media is key, and to that effect what determines and approves the content going into media is crucial.”

For this reason, he said, the AGI supports efforts of the Advertisers Association to get an advertising law to regulate the practice.

“AGI believes that all businesses should belong to a recognisable body so that we can enforce standard practice and call them to order when the need arises.”

Source: B&FT
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