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26.02.2004 Business & Finance

AGI commends budget

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Koforidua, Feb. 26, GNA- The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on Thursday commended the government for removing the Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported raw materials in this year's budget statement. It however, called for the review of the 7.5 per cent upfront payment on the turnover on the average profit ratio to stimulate business growth.

The Second Vice-President of the AGI, Mr Sammy Appenteng, who made the call at a forum on the budget organized by the Centre for Bugdet Advocacy, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at Koforidua on Tuesday. He said the budget had brought confidence to the industries. He noted that the budget would create a certain level of stability and profitability to move from "planning in desperation to one of systemic growth process."

Mr Appenteng said what was needed to stimulate the manufacturing sector include the institution of a long term borrowing facility to relief investors of the pressure on value.

He said for a long time, the nation "seemed to have been glorifying poverty and not promoting wealth creation", saying the country must now move to producing and earning enough to propel the economy to the middle income status.

Mr Appenteng suggested a salary and wage freeze and increased output, to make more goods available at competitive prices. The NDC MP for Bibiani-Anhwiaso, Mr S.K. Adamu, noted that the problem with the country's economy was lack of enough production to meet the demand for food, raw materials and employment for the youth. He called for more reduction of taxation to stimulate fast growth of business and employment creation and accused the government of failing to deliver on its campaign promises.

Mr Adamu who is also the ranking member on Mines and Energy, challenged the government's claims of paying about 70 per cent of the world market price of cocoa to farmers in the country, arguing that farmers only enjoyed 49 per cent.

The chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Mr Eugene Atta Agyapong, who denied that the budget statement was meant to court electoral votes, pointed out that it fell within the economic management policy of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

He said as a "responsive government", the budget was tailored to be tolerable and realistic in its implementation by all sections of the people.

The Presiding Member of the New Juaben Municipal Assembly, Ms Beatrice Boateng, who chaired the function, described the budget as crucial for the country's economic development, and called for support of all sections of the society to help in its implementation.

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