AGI bemoans multiplicity of taxes


AGI bemoans multiplicity of taxes

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has held its 63rd annual general meeting (AGM) in the Volta Region, under the theme Industrialisation Through Sustainable and Efficient Supply Chains.

The event gathered over 250 industrialists drawn from all the country’s 16 regions, who are focused on promoting industrialisation through sustainable and efficient supply chains.

President-AGI, Dr. Kwesi Humphrey Ayim Darke, welcomed the guests and members, stating that: “The meeting presents yet another opportunity for us to reflect and take stock of our activities as an association, while renewing our commitment to the mutual agenda that lies ahead of us. There is no doubt that we have gone through turbulent times as an association and as a nation – the headwinds, the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme and the rest. Nonetheless, resilience to strive on and move forward is apparent…and so is our total commitment to an improved business environment for Industry”.

He further stated” “To strengthen our advocacy in that direction, AGI has been at the forefront of multi-stakeholder engagements with government; and I am glad our efforts are yielding results”.

Dr. Darke lamented that the multiplicity of taxes has been a major bane to businesses’ competitiveness.  “Therefore, I take this opportunity to commend government for the recent announcement of VAT and duty-waivers on selected items in some sectors – automobile, raw materials for locally-manufactured African prints, raw materials for locally-produced sanitary pads, agricultural machinery and inputs as presented in the 2024 budget statement.

“These tax waivers, we believe, will help chart a competitive path for industry. Despite the challenges this year has presented, we have also experienced some stability. We are not yet out of the woods. However, as the saying goes; while we are not where we want to be, we are not where we started either.”

The deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael-Okyere Baafi, in a speech read on his behalf stated: “Industrialisation is a key driver of economic growth and development, but it also comes with challenges such as environmental degradation, resource depletion and social inequality.

“Inefficient supply chains lead to challenges such as pollution, emissions, congestion and delays. These problems not only harm the environment and society, but also reduce the profitability and performance of businesses. Not long ago, disruptions in the global supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic taught both economies and industries the need to develop sustainable supply chains. That’s why we need to rethink our industrial systems and make them more sustainable.

“Sustainable and efficient supply chains minimise the use of natural resources, energy and emissions, while maximising the value added, quality and resilience of the products and services delivered. They also consider the social and ethical aspects of production and consumption – such as labour rights, human health and safety, and consumer satisfaction.  Thus, adopting sustainable and efficient supply chains in the industrial sectors can improve your competitiveness, innovation and profitability, while contributing to the global goals of environmental protection, social justice and poverty reduction,” he added.

Guest speaker for the occasion, Silver Ojakol, Chief of Staff-African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)  secretariat, on his part said: “As you all know, the agreement was created for the private sector, not for the technocrats, non-government officials; the government officials only use it as a policy tool to increase intra-African trade, but beyond intra-African trade there are the areas of investment, intellectual property, propelling innovation and novel thinking in our young people and industries”.

He said the secretariat also has a system to help level competition on the trading ground against unfair trade practices. It also coordinates member-states to create instruments and facilities which support the agreement’s implementation.

Mr. Ojakol revealed that the secretariat has established several facilities and an adjustment fund, which now holds US$1billion with plans to raise US$40billion in the next 5 to 10 years. The fund’s aim is to support member-states implementing structural adjustments in line with the AfCFTA agreement.

He explained that the fund has a facility for the private sector – companies that wish to upscale their production under the single market. “We have two memoranda of understanding (MoU); one is on SME development funds of US$6billion with UBA, and we have for Ghana US$75million. The second is US$6billion with Equity Bank in Nairobi for funding small and medium enterprises.”

He said there is also a facility for players in the automobile sector, 1 billion dollars to promote the automotive sector’s development.

On his part, Volta Regional Minister Dr. Archibald Letsa said: “Our partnership with AGI for the Volta Fair has been great since its inception. AGI was at the forefront of our organisation, and your AGM is a welcome contribution toward the patronage of our fair. We urge you to spend a few days in the region, because once you are in the Volta Region you experience Ghana”.

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