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14.04.2005 General News

Tax on printing is detrimental to book industry - Appenteng

By GNA

Accra, April 14, GNA - The Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group, Mr. Berifi Appenteng, on Thursday called for a review in the level of taxes charged in the production of books, saying the over 30 per cent rate was injurious to the local book industry. He said the present situation made it cheaper to import books rather than produce them locally, while foreign publishers had an edge over domestic ones in bidding for contracts for textbook production. Mr Appenteng was speaking at a ceremony at which Vice President Aliu Mahama launched a book on strategic management, entitled "Strategic Orientation and Business Planning," and encouraged Ghanaians to empower themselves with its knowledge to be able to take advantage of the Golden Age of Business.

Professor Kwaku Adu-Appiah, a former lecturer, researcher and strategy consultant with world-class experience, who now heads the Policy Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the Office of the President, authored the 178-page book.

Graphic Packaging Limited, a subsidiary of Graphic Communications Group, designed and printed the book, whose forward was written by Dr Sam Jonah, President of Anglogold Ashanti.

Mr Appenteng explained that while local printers paid a total of between 20 to 30 per cent on raw materials, importers of finished packaging materials paid only 10 per cent import duty and two per cent in other taxes.

"In the case of books, the situation is even more disturbing as publishers who import books pay only two per cent total taxes on them as against local printers who are saddled with a total of bout 30 per cent tax on raw materials to be converted to textbooks."

He noted that the high cost of local production of books translated into high cost of books.

Mr Appenteng said it was necessary for publishers and booksellers to consider setting aside funds to promote and support the formation of reading clubs in educational institutions and communities as a means of improving the reading habit among Ghanaians, which is poor. Vice President Mahama praised Prof. Adu-Appiah for sharing his knowledge, which he gathered in his experiences around the world to propel the nation's growth.

The book, he said, synchronised perfectly with the agenda of the nation in its efforts to create the Golden Age of Business. "Moreover, the tenets espoused in this book are firmly embedded in the framework of corporate good governance, which happens to be one of the pillars of the NEPAD initiatives," he said.

Based on a collection of research reports, it covers issues such as Strategic Management, Benchmarking, Market Orientation and Organisational Learning, Organisational Culture and Customer Orientation in about seven chapters.

Vice President Mahama urged professionals in various parts of the economy to publish their knowledge for the benefit of their nation, as their books would bridge the gap between research and practice. Prof. Adu-Appiah, a recipient of the prestigious Amber Award for Literature, expressed the hope that the book, his fifth, would guide Ghanaian companies to flourish through excellent corporate governance and fine competition that put the customer at the centre. Mr Kwame Pianim, Chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, who chaired the function attended by leaders of government and private sector agencies, advocated the establishment of a think-tank to market Ghana globally.

He said though Ghana was on the right track to socio-economic progress, it needed a think-tank to spearhead its agenda through strategic planning, marketing and evaluation.

He also called for more attention to be given to the policy of domestication, saying relying on local knowledge, resources and the ability to develop was the best way forward.

The first copy of the book, which costs 95,000 cedis on the bookstand, was auctioned for 10 million cedis.

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