The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has outlined "Top 10 challenges" facing businesses in Ghana. This was contained in their business barometer report for the fourth quarter of 2012.
The AGI report identified high cost of credit as the number one challenge. It has moved from its fourth position in 2012 third quarter (Q3) to first in 2012 last quarter (4Q).
The report explained that the prevailing rigid requirements demanded by commercial banks in the country have resulted in low access to credit by the private sector. Consequently, most SMEs have resorted to non-banking financial institutions whose interest rates are very prohibitive.
Poor power supply was ranked second. The erratic power supply being experienced by the country is having adverse effect on the operations and planning of businesses, especially small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).
Poor power supply displaced the depreciation of the cedi which dropped from second in 2012 Q3 to 6th in 2012 Q4. It said the stabilization of the cedi in the last quarter of 2012 is responsible for downgrading of currency depreciation to sixth.
Other challenges in descending order are high cost of raw materials, the cost of credit, high rate of taxation, competition from imported goods, low purchasing power, delayed payment and high utility prices.
The AGI barometer report also said that the combined effect of these challenges has been an increasing cost of production of goods and services.
Despite these challenges, about 67% of the CEOs interviewed in the last quarter of 2012 expect their businesses to perform better in 2013.
The report advised that government could mitigate the difficult business situation by giving tax incentives to commercial banks.
This would entice them to allocate greater proportion of their credit portfolio to the private sector at competitive rates .
AGI has over 1,200 registered members from across the regions of Ghana. About 20% of members are medium and large scale industries while the remaining belong to the micro and small scale category.