The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is predicting heavy job losses amongst its members following the recent hikes in utility tariffs, fuel prices and other taxes.
Lamenting the teething challenges that continue to bedevil traders, President of the Association, Mr George Ofori disclosed that GUTA will by the end of this month release its independent statement on the Ghanaian economy which it has already described as the worst in recent times.
GUTA said some of the economic challenges from 2015 have spilled over into this year and will spell doom for the economy if not checked immediately.
Mr Ofori said the recent astronomical increases in taxes and utility tariffs will lead to businesses collapsing with its attendant effects on the living conditions of the people.
“It is not easy to make good sales in this economy. Business turnovers are being consumed by high utility tariffs, excessive taxes, persistent power fluctuation, high lending rates and persistent exchange rate volatilities.”
In effect, he said “Government is creating a massive unemployment mess which will lead to social vices such as armed robbery and prostitution.”
Mr Ofori emphasized that the cost benefit analyses of the high taxes, utility tariffs are negative, adding “if more businesses collapse and workers go out of employment, the attendant effect is that government’s revenue will shrink.”
According to him, the indication is that government is not managing the economy well.
Mr Ofori however applauded all traders in the country for doing their best despite the hard economic challenges.
Petroleum prices were adjusted upwards by between 18 and 28 percent on January 1, 2016 resulting in fears over possible hikes in transport fares.
The transport component in the inflation basket is quite substantial and therefore any increase in fuel products pushes inflation up.
Inflation inched up to 17.6 per cent in November, from the October 2015 figure of 17.4 per cent; according to the Ghana Statistical Service.
The Bank of Ghana also warned that inflation will remain high for some time since the current level and the latest inflation expectations remain far above the medium term target band of 8±2 percent.
Lending rates in the country are also high at about 32 percent on the average.
Source: The Finder
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