GUTA to demonstrate over high cost of doing business; asks for review of exemptions for expatriates

GUTA President

The Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has stressed on their calls for the government to discontinue the tax exemptions given to expatriate businesses and entities in Ghana.

Spokesperson for GUTA, Joseph Paddy alleged that aside from being detrimental to indigenous businesses, the privilege of tax exemption for expatriates is seriously abused at the expense of the state’s revenue.

“For example this exemption they have given to expatriates must be reviewed. They are abusing it. Somebody comes in the name of building a hotel and therefore is importing fridges and other appliances for the hotel, but ends up selling them in the market” he complained.

He noted that their foreign competitors borrow at 3% or less from their home banks whereas Ghanaian businesses borrow at 28% or more hence it is definitely difficult to compete on the back of pricing. That is why the foreigners are able to sell the same product at a lesser price than the Ghanaian counterparts.

Paddy further explained to Alfred Ocansey on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show that some of the Chinese businesses do not procure their goods with any funds because they are given the products by the Chinese government to sell on commission once they have markets.

“These are the dynamics in the business so if they see Ghanaian prices going up, it is because if you price yourself out, you will go out of business. No business man or woman wants to price himself or herself out of business” he emphasized.

GUTA bemoaned that Ghanaian contractors are suffering from the relatively high interest rate whereas local industries are competitively disadvantaged. The local manufacturer has to raise about nine cedis to exchange for one dollar to buy the same raw material at the world market price.

“Our production is not competitive. Cost of production is extremely high in this country and the cost of utilities is very expensive. Our manufacturing sector is not even attractive because prices are high due to high cost of production and as such our local products are not patronized” he explained

According to the spokesperson, GUTA members are losing their capital, businesses are suffering due to institutional failures and lack of openness on the part of the government. However, the solutions we have proffered to the government have not been considered. “Some of the solutions are unfortunately bitter pills” Joseph Paddy added

The GUTA spokesperson also revealed that the association is a pressure group as well and would embark on demonstration as it has done in the past if the situation does not improve.

By Samuel Afriyie Owusu||Ghana

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