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Business Confidence Drops Significantly In First Quarter   
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The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Business Barometer survey report for the first quarter in 2014 recorded significant dip of 90.13 per cent in business confidence index, representing one of the lowest in for years.

The reasons for the drop were attributed to the cedi depreciation against the dollar, which stood at 17.6 per cent, by end of March, the effect of additional 2.5 per cent VAT introduced in January, while the Bank of Ghana directives on foreign Current Accounts did not favour majority of businesses since the survey revealed that 52 per cent responded negative to the directives.

Mr Seth Tsum-Akwaboah, Chief Executive Officer of AGI made this known in Accra at the first quarter Business Barometer report of AGI.

He said the survey report was sample from 446 valid responses from the regions in the manufacturing, service and agriculture sector.

The survey revealed that local manufacturers who import raw materials were hit by foreign exchange losses and their margins were affected by the appreciation of input prices, utility prices and rising transportation costs.

Mr Tsum-Akwaboah said from the survey, it revealed that 63.5 per cent of the respondents said employment levels would remain the same while about 15 per cent were certain that employment figures would decrease.

He said the responses do not give a good picture of the prospects for employment in the next six months, stressing that only 21.7 per cent foresee an improvement in employment figures.

Mr Tsum-Akwaboah said the survey explored respondents’ views on contemporary business issues of interest such as the current situation and expectations for export trade.

He said out of the number surveyed, 20.6 per cent were into exports while 48.4 per cent of the exporters believed export trade has improved for the first quarter of 2014 while 10.5 per cent said their exports deteriorated within the same period.

On export expectation, the survey revealed that over 50 per cent said their export volumes would remain same since they are uncertain of the export situation in the next three months, adding that only 28.4 per cent of the exporters intend to increase their exports.
Source: GNA

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