As the Finance Minister Seth Terkper gears up to present the 2016 Budget on Friday, the business community is already coming up with suggestions, concerns and proposals that could help create a wholesome strategy for the next year.
The budget is generating keen interest because 2016 is an election year and many would be watching out for government’s spending plan for the year.
As at July this year, the public debt stood at Ȼ83 billion, hence a sharp increase in government’s expenditure might cause overruns.
The development might lead to a potential tax hike to make up for the election-year overrun and businesses would no doubt be affected.
Small and Medium- sized Enterprises (SMEs) are not left out. About 90 percent of registered companies in Ghana fall into the SME category, employing more than 80 percent of the economy’s total workforce and contributing about 50 percent of the nation’s total GDP.
These times however remain very difficult for SMEs in the midst of economic challenges. So what essentially would SMEs be expecting to hear on Friday?
Managing Director of the SME-bank Union Savings and Loans, Phillip Oti-Mensah said what is critical for SMEs is how government would be working towards improving the economic fundamentals, which is the continuous depreciation of the cedi and inflation.
“If the Cedi depreciation and inflation continues to trend it will be difficult for SMEs to sustain their operations”, Mr. Oti-Mensah said.
He also called for protection of local industries in the face of competition from their foreign counterparts.
“We are not saying that we should make lives easy for the SMEs, they must compete with world standard institutions; but whenever government can, it should protect these industries”, he explained.
Mr. Oti-Mensah spoke at an Executive Breakfast Meeting organized by the savings and loans company dubbed “Healthy Living for Business Success” which formed part of activities to mark the institution’s Customer Service Week.
The event held in collaboration with the Eden Family Hospital and the Sugar Project sought to highlight the importance of healthy living for business owners and their employees.