Government has been asked to place a ban on the import of non-essential goods into the country. Information available to BUSINESS GUIDE indicates that the nation spends about $1 billion yearly on food import.
Describing the situation as unfortunate, the Director of Vista 2000 Limited, Arun Thampi, in an interview with this paper in Accra said: “We are importing a lot of goods into Ghana that we do not need.”
He said it is about time government takes bold decisions to either ban the import of commodities such as salt, sugar, textbooks, tomato, rice, maize, tooth-pick, poultry and fish or place a high tariff on them.
“Why should we import these items while we can produce them ourselves?” he wondered, calling on the government to support the local industry to produce more of these products.
Mr. Thampi further said government needs proper tax reforms to enable it attracts more foreign direct investments into the country. He noted that Ghana was one of the countries in Africa that charges high duties on imported raw materials.
He said a lot of goods are being smuggled into Ghana from other neigbouring countries because the duty charged on imported raw materials is too high.
“It is about 50 per cent and I believe if the duty is low, smuggling will stop”, he added.
“Though Ghana has made some progress in her economy, we cannot compare it to where other countries have reached because of the improper tax regime and this situation is dragging away investors,” he stated.
Mr. Thampi therefore made a passionate appeal to government to grant tax holidays to those operating in the manufacturing sector and other core sectors of the economy for at least a period of three years.
A tax holiday is a temporary reduction or elimination of a tax. Governments usually create tax holidays as incentives for business investment.
In most developing countries, governments sometimes reduce or eliminate corporate taxes for the purpose of attracting foreign direct investment or stimulating growth in selected industries.
Mr. Thampi believes granting tax holidays to those operating in the manufacturing sector and other core sectors of the economy would enable them re-invest more funds into their operations and also create more jobs.
He however said the vision of his company is to add value to the Ghanaian economy, especially by strengthening the manufacturing and the educational sectors.
The Accra-based printing firm which was set up in 1996 is into textbook manufacturing. The company also supplies other paper products to most printing houses in the country. It plans to expand its operations in some few years to come.
“We plan making A-4 paper, envelopes, among others,” Mr. Thampi, Director of Vista 2000 Limited said, promising his customers quality products at an affordable price.
Vista 2000 Limited offers direct employment for 100 people and another 100 indirect employment. Its production capacity is 500 metric tonnes per month and $5 million haveso far been invested into the company since its inception in 1996.
Source: Business Guide
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