#CitiBusinessFestival panelists outline strategies for ‘Doing Business in Ghana as an MSME’

Five speakers billed for the 2nd edition of the 2021 Citi Business Festival’s virtual forum gave varied opinions on effective ways of doing business in Ghana as a Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME).

Citi News’ Vivian Kai Lokko hosted the show which was live on Citi TV and social media on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

The forum was under the theme “Doing Business in Ghana as an MSME”.

Take advantage of incentives, tax exemptions and rebates – Ali-Nakyea

Tax Analyst and Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law, Dr. Abdallah Ali-Nakyea,
kicked off the discussion by encouraging businesses not to lose sight of the government’s tax waivers to enable them grow and sustain their operations.

He said there is an array of incentives, tax exemptions, and rebates that MSMEs could take advantage of.

“If you are 35 years and below, there are incentives for you if you are into IT and you have five-year tax holidays to enable them to start up. And also depending on the sector for instance in the hospitality industry, they have been given 35 percent rebates of their taxes.”

Standard is the language of trade; it’s critical to meet them – Prof. Dodoo to businesses

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Standards Authority (GRA), Prof. Alex Dodoo also highlighted the need for entrepreneurs to be concerned about the role of standardisation in their businesses if they seek to excel.

According to him, standardisation is “the language of trade”, adding that it brings value to both the seller and the buyer in a market, and ensures value for money for both parties.

Prof. Dodoo believes any business that “consistently” fails to provide the needed standard to its clients or customers risks losing them.

“It is true that a lot of businesses do nothing to think about the standards at all until they start processing, but if you are doing a business, and you want to expand your business by selling more and attracting more customers, then, you need to be certified by us”.

Build capacity to attract credit facilities – Grace Anim to MSMEs

The Director of Business Banking at Absa Bank Ghana, Grace Anim-Yeboah also urged persons planning on resorting to credit facilities to start or expand their businesses to first build capacity.

Ms. Anim-Yeboah explained that though most MSMEs view access to credit as their biggest challenge, the actual issue they need to address is capacity building.

“Credit is indeed available and for the MSMEs, what they ask for are not usually so high that the banks cannot support. But most MSMEs say their biggest challenge is access to credit, but per our observation, that is not the actual challenge. One of the challenges we have found because we are intentional about bringing possibilities to life is the capacity gap.”

“How are these entrepreneurs thinking of growing their businesses beyond themselves? What is the plan? To what extent are they opening up their businesses to other participants, so that the founder is not Alpha and Omega of the business, but the business is resilient, has the right strictures and can run as a legal entity? All these factors come to play when it comes to making MSMEs more attractive to banks when it comes to lending decisions.”

Registration and renewal of business can be done online – Jemima Oware

The Registrar-General, Jemima Oware, who was one of the panellists of the forum highlighted reforms introduced by her outfit to make registration of new companies easier.

“We have developed forms and put them online for our various customers to download and complete online, but some still choose to walk into our offices to hand over their documents they have completed,” she said.

She said the age requirement for starting businesses had also been reviewed from 21 to 18.

She also indicated that companies that fail to file their returns by the end of June 2021 risk having their names struck out of the list of businesses in Ghana.

She said about 200,000 companies have since 2011 failed to file their annual return and financial statement despite several notices and reminders.

“Since 2011 when we introduced the new e-registrar software, I have over 200,000 businesses that have not filed their annual returns basically because some of them think they’ve not done businesses, COVID-19 has come among others.”

“We gave extensions for people to file annual returns, and we extended it to almost one year, and we allowed businesses to hold Annual General Meetings virtually. We gave all these dispensations, but now the time is up. By the end of June 30, we are going to start another round of penalties,” she warned.

GIPC protecting local companies – Yofi Grant 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Yofi Grant indicated that his outfit was protecting local businesses just like it was doing for foreign businesses.

He said this is evident in the GIPC’s decision to give local companies the same incentives being given to foreign companies – a move he said had led to a surge in the registration of local companies at the GIPC.

“I think that the message is hitting home. The reality is that over the past two years we have a lot more local companies registering at the GIPC because they have realised that the incentives we are giving is country mutual so there are Ghanaians getting the same incentives foreigners are getting.”

Today’s virtual forum had about 50 participants joining via zoom.

The virtual business fora will be live on Citi TV every Tuesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm for the month of June.

The on-air series on the Citi Breakfast Show also airs from Monday to Thursday at 9:20 am. The sessions on radio have been themed to correspond with the virtual fora.

This year’s edition is hinged on five thematic areas, namely:

Week 1: Digital Economy – Building a cashless society and the opportunities for business and job creation.

Week 2: Doing business in Ghana.

Week 3: AgriBusiness – Feeding Ghana with a sound import substitution strategy.

Week 4: Trade – AfCFTA: Opportunities for investment & Job creation in Ghana.

Week 5: Oil and Gas – The opportunities for indigenous businesses.

The Citi Business Festival is sponsored by Absa Bank, Ghana, with support from IT Consortium and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).

It is also powered by Citi FM, Citi TV, and Ghana’s most comprehensive business news website, www.citibusinessnews.com.

The Citi Business Festival is an extensive program of business events and on-air activities providing inspiration, business ideas, and information to persons who are starting, building, or growing their businesses.

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