Dr Humphrey Ayim-Darke, President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), says the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) has affected many businesses severely during the year.
He said it had resulted in heavy impairment losses on government securities, investor confidence and the introduction of the new revenue measures in 2023.
Dr Ayim-Darke made these known in an address at the 63rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the first to be held in the Volta region.
It was under the theme: “Industrialization Through Sustainable and Efficient Supply Chains.”
Dr Ayim-Darke said the AGI was not left out in the DDEP discussions since it constituted a team of financial experts to discuss and make recommendations to government.
He said the AGI also made recommendations regarding measures to mitigate the impact of the debt exchange on businesses, especially the financial sector and added that “AGI submitted a position paper on the DDEP to government.”
Dr Ayim-Darke said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) considered the AGI an important private sector group in Ghana.
“The IMF team held high-level meetings with our AGI Executives to explore the views of Captains of Industry in addressing the challenges facing the economy”.
He said the IMF also discussed considerations for a comprehensive reform package, to restore macroeconomic stability and anchor debt sustainability.
Dr Ayim-Darke said the level of utility increment and re-categorisation of water users by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) as experienced in 2022 put many of the businesses, especially those in the beverage sector, under pressure.
He said they were happy that they made good headway in the tariff negotiations that appeared to be in limbo from the onset.
“If government is able to maintain macroeconomic stability, some of the significant changes in tariffs levels and price hikes we currently experience, will be a thing of the past.”
Mr Silver Ojakol, Chief of Staff, AfCFTA Secretariat, said Ghana must lead the economic independence of the continent since it had led the political independence and most importantly hosting the AfCFTA Secretariat.
He said all governments in the African continent had massively supported the AfCFTA and there was the need to optimise the support received from them.
Mr Kwasi Ofori-Antwi, Representative of the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, said the AGM served as a platform to discuss issues affecting the industrial landscape of the economy and to exhibit locally manufactured goods and services.
He said they also served as channels for giving guidance for the strategic positioning of local industries for global competitiveness.
Mr Hammond said government had been pursuing an industrial transformation agenda, which was seeking to transform the industrial landscape of the Ghanaian economy and proud to state that the AGI had played a critical role in pursuing the agenda.
He said industrialisation was a key driver of economic growth and development, but it also came with challenges, such as environmental degradation, resource depletion and social inequality.
Mr Hammond said there were challenges such as pollution, emissions, congestion and delays due to inefficient supply chains, which harmed the environment and society and reduced the profitability and performance of businesses.
Dr Archibald Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, acknowledged the cordial existing partnership between the AGI and the Regional Coordinating Council hoping that all benefits to accrue from the staging of its AGM must remain in the region.
He commended the tenacity and hardwork of Mr Dela Gadzanku, AGI Chairman of Eastern, Volta and Oti regions, who is basking in his father's footsteps as an industrialist and former member of AGI.