Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry has challenged the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to make public, the number of Ghanaian businesses which have reneged on their financial obligations to the state.
She said “the number is so overwhelming that the Finance Ministry was feeling reluctant to name and shame them in order to protect the image of those businesses.”
The Trade and Industry Minister was reacting to an assertion by a Ghanaian businessman that the government had neglected local businesses and was rather wooing direct foreign investments into the country.
The issue came up in Accra on Wednesday during a round table discussion on Ghana’s economy with the visiting Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Villy Soundal, and a trade delegation from Denmark.
The forum was organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and it had the Theme: Ghana’s Transformation into a middle Income Country Investment Climate and Trade Opportunities.
Ms. Tetteh said many local industries had been supported by the state to find their feet, however, most often, these enterprises had failed to pay back what had been given to them.
She said “the government is making it a policy not to extend any support for any business which has an outstanding payment to make”.
Ms. Tetteh said it was wrong for businesses to perceive that funds given out to support their businesses could be misapplied without facing any sanctions.
Citing an example to make good her argument about some local businesses not willing to pay back money given them the minister said one local company was given money by the Millennium Development Authority to undertake a project with the assurance that if they were able to pay 25 per cent of the money, the rest would be converted into a grant.
She said the company did not pay a pesewa, so the money eventually became government’s liability since it was the guarantor.
Ms. Tetteh said such cases abound but most often, some local enterprises lose oversight of their commitments and blame government for their failures.
She reiterated that tax holidays and exemptions were not skewed towards foreign investors only, but were equally tailored to benefit local industries which put in the right claims for exemptions.
Source: The Ghanaian Times
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