President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Clement Osei-Amoako, says government should consider providing a stimulus package for local businesses involved in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to him, the commencement of the AfCFTA means Ghanaian businesses will now have to compete with businesses from other African countries who might have access to credit facilities at lower rates than are currently being offered in the country.
In a media interview, Mr. Osei-Amoako, also noted that a provision of the stimulus package will ensure an enabling business environment which is critical for private sector competitiveness.
“What we seek to do is that, we always look at market opportunities to avail ourselves to it and see where we can reap whatever is there. So, most of the things that we do, hitherto, were just business meetings in other countries to just look for buyers. But with a market of 1.2 billion, there is a lot of potentials.”
“So, we need knowledge of the market as to what is going on. Now, we are talking about cost of funds. This is important, but we still need to be competitive that is why we are asking the government to look at giving us some form of stimulus packages to help us,” he said.
The African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, which commenced on January 1, 2021, consolidates a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion. Because of the agreement, Africa’s manufacturing output is expected to double to $1 trillion, creating 14 million jobs by 2025.
The AfCFTA agreement primarily requires members to remove 90 per cent tariffs from goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.
According to McKinsey & Company, a US-based management consulting firm, with the right transport infrastructure and high integration, manufacturers of consumer goods could earn up to $326 billion dollars per year.
The World Bank also estimates that this agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating.