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PEF Conducts Nationwide Consultative Workshops on Tax Reforms for MSMEs

 

PEF CONDUCTS NATIONWIDE CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOPS ON TAX REFORMS FOR MSMEs

 

The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), the Apex Business Council for the private sector and as part of its core functions seeks to influence business growth and development. In pursuit of this function PEF in 2016 reviewed the Income Tax Act 2015 (ACT 896), which revealed series of gaps in the Act unfavorable to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The burden of taxes on these indigenous small businesses constrain their ability to use all their internally generated funds for expansion and or retooling to grow and become competitive. The cost of tax compliance sometimes result in some businesses being derilict in their responsibility resulting in low levels of tax revenues to Government.

In order to fully address the impact of the current tax regime on the businesses of indigenous MSMEs, the Federation with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) will partner other stakeholders to undertake full research of every aspect of the current tax system in addition to the mirage of fees, levies and tariffs that these business have to pay when added together, make tax compliance virtually unaffordable for the MSMEs.

The entire project including research and evaluation action will allow the Federation and its partners to advocate for a new ta system (TIERED TAX SYSTEM) that will be recommended. Consequently, businesses in different segmented categories (1,2,3,4 etc.) will then be assessed tax liabilities. The criteria for the new tax system will take into consideration varying factors premised among others, on asset size, capitalization, ownership, business turnover and other criteria that may be agreed upon by the various stakeholders to place MSMEs in segmented to reduce the burdensome tax liabilities commensurate to their financial capabilities (ability to pay). 

As part of the process, a Research Team put together by the Federation embarked on a consultative exercise to gather inputs from private sector businesses, professional bodies and other key experts and stakeholders across the four regional centres as follows;

1. 18th October, 2018- Modern City hotel, Tamale

2. 22nd October, 2018- Golden Tulip hotel, Kumasi

3. 26th October, 2018- Protea Marriot hotel, Takoradi

4. 31st October, 2018- Holiday Inn hotel, Accra

During the meetings, the participants mostly MSMEs expressed their opinions on the current tax system and how they think it should be structured to such that it would be less burdensome and they can also be more compliant. The research team led by Mr. Isaac Nyame a tax accountant, took them through a questionnaire which was used to collect data from respondents and also a presentation on the Ghana’s tax system comparative to other countries or jurisdictions. Participants were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting with many calling for more regular interactions with taxpayers especially from the Ghana Revenue Authority.

 

 

 

Consolidated Private Sector inputs into the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana

SUBMITTED TO

THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE

October 2018

 

 

 

 Amendment of VAT Act 2013 (Act 870)

In the mid-year review of the 2018 Budget Statement, and Economic Policy, although the VAT rate was reduced from 17.5% to 12.5% the government imposed 2.5% GETFund Levy and 2.5% National Health Insurance Levy on businesses which were approved by Parliament. These policies were introduced to reduce the burden on consumers; however it has a negative impact on VAT registered businesses. The way it is structured now, businesses cannot pass on the new levy which previously were pass through to consumers. It therefore reduces the opportunity for businesses to keep additional slice of their internally generated funds for operations and sustainability. Government continues to receive the same quantum of revenue by this restructuring however, it raises additional tax burden on businesses.

The erstwhile VAT regime allowed VAT registered companies qualified to claim any VAT on imports and exports to reclaim their entire VAT payments through the input-output arrangements. However, the recent amendment reduced the reclaimable portion of the VAT impost from 17.5% to 12.5% with the conversion of GETFund and NHIL components from indirect tax to straight levies. These fiscal measures have culminated in a 5% increase in cost of production for companies which cannot be passed on to consumers.

The additional cost comes on the back of a challenging business environment especially for our mining companies that has undermined the competitiveness as well as their continuous operations; especially those mining support companies involved in the supply of goods and services who are yet to recover from the impact of the 3% flat VAT that was recently introduced. We call for a review and reversal of this policy to abate its negative impact on the profitability and sustainability of these businesses in Ghana.

 VAT on locally produced goods

To strengthen the competitiveness of locally manufactured goods including furniture (from local wood) and foot wear, VAT should either not be imposed on locally produced goods or it must be reduced to at most 50% of the current rate. This is to enhance the competitiveness (in terms of pricing) of locally produced goods against foreign products which were produced with tax incentives and low-cost funding from their respective governments

 Tier tax system

PEF’s initial review of the Income Tax Act 2015 (ACT 896) (ITA) revealed that there are some provisions in the tax law which impact negatively on the operations of businesses, especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Currently, the provisions of the ITA are generic and applicable equally to all businesses regardless of size, capitalization, turnover and ability or inability to pay, disregarding the impact on infant industries and domestic indigenous MSMEs. As a consequence, most of these domestic MSMEs fail to formalize their operations through incorporation as registered businesses, in order to avoid payment of their share of taxes thereby reducing the amount of tax revenues that accrue to government. The Federation is proposing a TIERED SYSTEM OF TAXATION that will reduce the tax burden and cushion the hardships faced by domestic MSMEs in the country and make them more profitable, competitive and sustainable by keeping a fair share of their profits. This will ensure that businesses in different financial categories are made to pay taxes commensurate to their financial capabilities which will create an aura of voluntary tax compliance, lower the cost of tax administration and foster an expanded tax net which will inturn boost government tax revenues.

Eventually, it is expected that the private sector will become more tax compliant due to the introduction of better business-friendly provisions in the TIERED SYSTEM OF TAXATION taking into account the socio-economic realities of the business environment in Ghana; to create a thriving and competitive private sector that will boost government revenues through voluntary payments of taxes by profitable MSMEs to enable the government execute its developmental agenda. 

 Consolidation of Tax waivers, Exemptions and Tax Holidays under GIPC

The existing policy that allows various MMDAs, the Free Zone Board and other agencies to grant tax exemptions, waivers and other tax holidays should be reviewed and consolidated under the authority of Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) to foster efficient targeting of the use of tax incentives to drive the country’s provision of requisite infrastructure and general development. Furthermore, entities who qualify for tax exemptions must be reviewed to ensure equitable responsibility for taxes across all businesses including Free Zone Entities but not only on the back of the local businesses who are not free zone approved ventures.

Reinvestment of 25% of Profits of Tax Exempt FDI Companies:

Foreign Direct Investments who enjoy tax exemptions of any kind should be mandatory on them to reinvest at least 25% of their annual profit in the local economy also as tax exempt for five (5) additional years before repatriating that profit home. These profits should be invested possibly in other sectors of the economy unrelated to the sector of operations of the investee company to create a catalytic effect in boosting other sectors of the economy, as a consequence of the tax exemption that was granted at the expense of government forgoing the use of the potential tax revenues.

Local Content:

Successive Ghanaian governments have sought to realize the implementation of local content through various legal and policy initiatives. Several pieces of legislation govern the Oil and Gas sector in Ghana, some of which address local content in those sectors. However, there is no holistic local content policy covering all sectors of the Ghanaian economy. We call on the Government to include in the 2019 budget the development of a comprehensive local content legislative framework which will ensure inclusive equity participation, value addition with respect to the development of local industries, adoption and use of local raw materials wherever possible, technology transfer and outsources of goods and services to indigenous local partners, in order to catalyze the development and growth of  local indigenous Ghanaian businesses, especially our construction industry which has come under severe challenges from overseas state sponsored companies with vast state resources dwarfing our infant construction companies.

Arrears to Contractors & other Service Providers to Government:

As a matter of urgency, we request that allocations are set aside in the 2019 Budget and thereafter to provide resources to clear arrears owed to Contractors and other service providers for work done for the government to be paid promptly with interest to defray the additional cost incurred by these contractors for loans acquired to honor the contracts. The budget should make it mandatory that in future contracts of the Government of Ghana with the indigenous local Contractors and other service providers should have a provision to cater to defray the additional cost for delayed payments. 

Partnership of FDIs With Indigenous Local Businesses:

Similarly, we propose a partnership arrangement between Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) who enjoy tax holidays and exemptions to operate in partnership with domestic indigenous Ghanaian businesses on at least 30-40 % equity participation basis. 

As a country, we are failing to use the FDIs as a tool to transfer knowledge and technology to improve Ghanaian owned businesses

 Removal of Surcharge on International Inbound Traffic 

The governments of some countries, including Ghana have increased charges for terminating inbound international telephony traffic and have installed traffic monitoring devices to measure incoming international traffic and collect additional tax revenues at the wholesale level. The suppliers of the monitoring devices claim that the implementation of such systems increases transparency and provides a means for governments of such countries to mitigate revenue disadvantages associated with imbalances in incoming and outbound traffic volumes between developing and developed markets. In reality, however, such surcharges (taxes) are harmful to both operators and consumers and are ultimately counterproductive for governments. 

The Surcharge on International Incoming Traffic (SIIT) takes the form of an imposed fixed price that operators must charge for international inbound termination, of which the government takes a set amount. SIIT prices are different from the competitive market prices for termination, which were applied before the tax was introduced. The surcharge has the following key effects on the industry 

i. Higher prices that cause a reduction in incoming call volumes 

ii. The price differentials increases incentives for illegal traffic 

iii. The SIIT can have negative economic impacts. 

Indeed the US Trade Representatives, 2013 Section 1377 Review on compliance with Telecommunications Trade Agreements, flags Ghana as one of the few countries with a Government-Mandated Termination Rate Increase. According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data between 2009 and 2011 since the introduction of the surcharge, the number of traffic/minutes sent to Ghana has decrease from 300million minutes to 170million minutes representing a decline of over 48percent.

The industry proposal for the removal of the Surcharge on International Incoming Traffic (SIIT), introduced in 2009 is as follows: 

i. The removal of the mandatory $0.19 per minute tariff for international incoming calls to be replaced with an open market competitive tariff regime 

ii. The conversion of the $0.06 surcharge to a 32% ad valorem tax (same ratio as 6:19). 

iii. This will neutralize the grey market manifested by simboxing and fueled by arbitrage, leading to a further boost in revenues from international telecoms traffic.

 

 Conclude Roadmap on Small Scale Mining Companies

A six-month moratorium was imposed on small-scale mining on April 1, 2017, to curb illegal mining and its negative impact on biodiversity and health. However, the ban is still in force because its desired impact has not yet been realized.

Although some of these small-scale mining companies are duly licensed and qualified to operate, they cannot do so because of the ban. Going forward, the Government has announced a road map towards lifting ban; however, we are all aware that the road map does not state clearly defined/specific timelines for the ban to be lifted. We therefore urge the authorities to complete the work on the subject as quickly as possible to enable genuine and duly authorized and licensed small-scale mining companies to resume operations. This action will rescue them from eminent collapse with its attendant socio-economic fallouts on both the business owners, their families and society at large.

 AGRICULTURE

Government should introduce national policies and regulations for the operation of a sustainable Warehouse Receipt System (WRS). 

The agricultural sector which caters to at least 44.6 % of the Ghanaian population is the sector of the Ghanaian economy with the greatest potential to lead to industrialization and quantum leap in the country’s development. However, the sector is plagued with several issues that result in huge amounts of post-harvest losses resulting in financial losses to investors of the sector, majority of whom are small holder farmers.

To address this waste, we recommend the following:

1. To establish a viable Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) with its accompanying state of the art warehouses and storage facilities for the various commodities, Maize (white and yellow), Sorghum, Soybean, Cowpea Rice, Legumes and other high value perishable commodities as a prelude for the development of a holistic Commodity Exchange.

2. Establishment of Targeted Incentivized Risk-Sharing in Agriculture Financing to provide long term funds both equity and loans, guarantees and incentives to attract enhanced investments into Agriculture

3. To develop a long term plan to forestall export of any raw agriculture produce except when it has undergone value addition processes, ie ZERO EXPORT OF AGRICULTURE RAW PRODUCE.

 

RESTRICTION OF COCOBOD SEED FUNDS TO INDEGINOUS LBCS:

It is an inefficient application of the country’s scarce resources for the Government of Ghana to borrow to finance the cocoa industry and use the borrowed funds to provide seed funds to foreign owned LBCs at zero cost to the beneficiary foreign company, who at the end of the season will repatriate the profits out of the country. 

We request that with immediate effect, measures are put in place to restrict COCOBOD seed fund to only indigenous Ghanaian owned LBCs. 

 

 CAPITAL MOBILIZATION:

Conversion of the Special Import Levy (SIL) To Long Term Capital Formation

In the 2018 Budget Statement read in November 2017, approval was given for the Special Import Levy which was earmarked to expire in December 2017 to continue to be implemented for two more years. This means that 2% levy is applicable on all imports other than petroleum, fertilizer and machinery and equipment listed under chapters 84 and 85 of the Harmonised Systems Code (HS): ECOWAS Common External Tariff and other Schedules.

We request that Government converts this Levy with the current sunset date of December 31 2019 be continued into a 5-year capital mobilization scheme to be set aside to create a pool of long-term funds for private sector investments to forestall the absolute dependence on the short term high cost credit that is currently the backbone of private sector investment sources of funds. The reliance of investments on the back of competitive long term funds will definitely release a lot of value addition by the reduction in the cost of money to both private sector businesses and the public sector demands of capital for infrastructural development. 

We request that in addition to this Special Levy to aggregate funds for investments, incessant promotional activities are undertaken to attract greater participation by businesses, labour and the citizenry in the 3-TIER Pension Scheme especially the THIRD TIER VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION to galvanize accumulation of long term capital for both public and private sector investments.  

In the desire and efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs)  of There is an urgent need for LONG TERM CAPITAL to trigger volumes of private sector investments needed to meet the quantum of investments required to meet the SDGs to alleviate poverty, to create wealth that will culminate in additional tax revenues for government to execute an inclusive agenda to improve the livelihood of the citizenry, leaving no one behind

 

 

Respectfully Submitted:

                             

 

 

 

PEF calls for enforcement of Ghana’s Local Content Regime

Nana Osei-Bonsu, CEO of PEF and some other members of the panel 

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana (AMCHAM) and the European Business Organization (EBO) organized a seminar in Accra to discuss Ghana’s local content regime and how it can be used as a tool for development. Both organizations have reiterated their commitment to seeing the successful implementation of Ghana’s local content policies and regulations, stating that such policies and regulations must ensure win-win situation for both foreign investors and Ghana. The CEO of PEF, Nana Osei-Bonsu was invited to join a panel to deliberate on the provisions in Ghana’s laws on local content and participation in various sectors of the economy. The discussion was to find a way forward for effective local content legislation and implementation for development of Ghana’s economy without undermining the drive for foreign direct investments. Nana in his submission stated that the pursuit of local content and participation is the surest way of safeguarding the interest of the local private sector to have a share in the benefits of the Ghanaian economy and also to ensure sustainability of the industry when the foreign counterparts sometimes leave for their home countries. However, he emphasized the need to train the local workforce across the value chain, to equip them with the requisite skills and competencies to drive innovation and growth in the industry. Nana mentioned that local content policies usually cover four key elements: local contracts to provide local goods and services; provide local employment opportunities; local equity participation; and technology transfer. He stated that in the mining sector where Ghana has zero equity in companies operating in the sector, local content regulations were intended to share the value generated in the mining sector with Ghanaians. Nana Osei Bonsu cited the good example of Technip FMC, an upstream oil and gas service provider that had invested in training local engineers, instead of using mostly foreign engineers.

Nana remarked that content legislation cannot substitute mediocrity for quality of business and fail woefully if low skill and competencies level of labor is not trained to world class standard. The event gave stakeholders, foreign and local; the positive and negative sides of local content regulation and to seek a mutually beneficial ground to operate thus making the country attractive to FDIs. The event had a panel comprising Kwasi Abeasi, Chairman, Board of Directors of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC); Nana Osei-Bonsu, CEO of Private Enterprise Federation; George Brakoh, Regional Manager, Local Supplier and Contractor Development, Newmont Ghana; David Addo Ashong, Founding Partner, Ashong Benjamin and Associates and Senyo Hosi, CEO of Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors. The panellists agreed that local content policies and regulations are important in bringing value and benefits to all stakeholders of the business-including shareholders, employees, suppliers and locals.

 

Position paper on the companies’ bill 2018 submitted to the parliamentary committee on constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs in the parliament of Ghana

October, 2018

 

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS ON THE COMPANIES BILL 2018 REVIEW

 

2.1 General Comments

 

1. Lack of Policy Framework to Direct Businesses – 

 Related to the above, the Bill does not take into account socio-economic issues that affect businesses in Ghana. Example, there have been calls to bring informal sector into the formal sector for tax inclusion and the preparation of the new Companies Bill offers a good opportunity to achieve that purpose. But the Companies Bill seeks to restate positions of the Companies Act, 1963 which failed to clarify the indigenous and cost to other infant MSMEs and compliance of the various dictates of companies. 

2. Holistic Review of Laws Affecting Business Entities – 

There is the need for all the laws related to business establishments and operations to be reviewed in a holistic manner and synchronized. That is the Companies Bill should not be looked at in isolation but must be done together with the Registration of Business Names Act, 1962 (Act 151) and the Incorporated Private Partnership Act, 1962 (Act 152). 

3. Registrar General’s Departments / Office of the Registrar of Companies – the Companies Bill seeks to create a new office solely for the registration of companies. Whilst this is laudable idea, it is important to emphasis that failure to provide the needed resources including capable officials to ensure that the Companies Bill is effectively implemented, will not yield any result. Rather it is our recommendation that this option should be a unit in the office of the Registrar General’s.

4. Tier System of Companies – 

The establishment requirements, compliance issues, and other related provisions of the Companies Bill apply to small and big companies without any distinction between them. In addition, the complexity of the incorporation requirements, applying across board, to both small and big companies hinder small business owners from incorporating into a formal business entity. One mechanism to attract informal sector into the formal sector, is to consider the creation of segregated types of companies which attract informal business owners. For example having Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 etc companies with different legal regime for each tier. The above will require different compliance requirements for the different tiers of companies. Based on the above, a tier system of private companies limited by shares can be created.

5. Restriction on Number of Members/Debenture holders of Private companies - the Bill should create exceptions, for example, for churches that incorporate as private companies limited by guarantee and associations of more than 50 members who want to incorporate to carry on business but which do not necessarily want to incorporate a public company, especially where the entity do not intend to advertise for purchase of shares or public deposit or any public involvement. The fundamental issue that needs to be addressed is that it is not prudent to maintain the 50 members limitation which may have been reasonable in 1963 and not in today’s environment without allowing any exception. Due to functionalities and the highly competitive nature of doing business, we recommend the threshold should be increased to not less than 100 members.

6. Reduction of the age of subscribers (shareholders) and directors to 18 years - what is not clear is if the reduction of the age of subscribers and directors under the Companies Bill does amend also the general position under Contract Law that a minor (who is someone below 21 years old) has no capacity to enter into a contract, thereby lowering the age limit to 18 instead of 21. If not, there is implication for the reduction of the age under the Bill in terms of validity of such contracts signed by the directors below 21 years of age (example the validity of such contracts may be challenged). Another implication if the contracting age and the age of subscribers/directors are not synchronized, is that, such subscribers/future directors cannot enter into pre-incorporation contracts on behalf of the proposed companies; neither can they act as promoters. 

2.2 Specific Comments

7. Abolishing of the Ultra Vires Doctrine – one highlight of the Bill is the statement in the memorandum to the Bill that ultra vires doctrine or principle has been totally abolished. It is suggested that the ultra vires doctrine as in the 1963 Act should be maintained to ensure that businesses conduct the business for which the entity is registered for as stated in its incorporation document.

In addition, the fundamental question is whether the indication in the memorandum that the ultra vires doctrine has been abolished is not entirely true given that the Bill allows the court to grant injunction to prevent transactions subject to issues of fairness to the third party. Also, members and debenture holders can prevent such ultra vires act under section 219. Section 150 (which deals with Presumption of Regularity) also does not protect such transactions when the third party knows the transaction is ultra vires or ought to know or fails to be diligent when he/she is put on notice. 

The stated objectives of an incorporated institution should be clearly identified and limit the functions and operations of such incorporated institutions to the stated objectives and functions.

8. Regulations/Constitutions

(a) The change of name from Regulations to Constitution is likely to confuse business entities. The suggestion is that the name Regulations should be maintained. Other jurisdictions who has amended their companies legislation multiple times maintain the terminologies that the user of the code are familiar with and the Companies Bill should also maintain the terminology especially if the substance of the document is not affected to warrant the change of name.

(b) The Bill also requires the Constitution to conform to the form of constitution (Regulations) in the Bill under section 27(1). It gives the Registrar power to refuse to register the constitution even though the substance of the Regulations/Constitution satisfies the requirements of the Companies Act. The insistence on the form over the substance should be avoided.

(c) There is no recognition of the status of Shareholders Agreement vis-a-vis the Regulations/Constitution of the Company. Since both essentially play the same role, the Act should recognize this and make provision for instances where shareholders enter into a Shareholders Agreement in addition to the Regulations/Constitutions.

9. Registration of Charges – the registration of charge is now required to be done within 45 days (compare to previous 28 days under the Act). If not done, section 118 maintains the position that it should be done after an application is made to the court and order obtained to effect the Registration. The procedure of seeking court approval for the extension of the time of registration is unnecessary. It is recommended that the power is given the Registrar General to grant or refuse such extension and the charge should take effect from the date of registration (so that any prior charge registered has precedence). 

Further it is important that the registration process under the Companies Bill is made consistent with the registration process under the Borrowers and Lenders Act. Under the Borrower and Lenders Act, registration of charges at the Collateral Registry is to be done within 28 days. Where this is not done, the Collateral Registrar (Bank of Ghana) is given the power to grant extension for registration. Alternatively, a single registration process should be adopted to avoid duplication and misunderstanding of registration of charges.

10. Minimum Number of Directors, Residence Requirement and Competence – it is not in all instances that it is prudent for companies to have a minimum of two directors. In practice, a name is added to that of the shareholder just to satisfy the minimum requirement without any further implication. Based on the suggestion of tier system of companies, the requirement of permitting a single director for lower tier companies is preferred. 

11. Prohibition of Financial Assistance in Acquisition of Shares – the Companies Bill maintains the position of the Companies Act, 1963 that prohibits companies giving financial assistance directly and indirectly to prospective shareholders in the acquisition of shares of the company. It is suggested that this may rather in some instances prevent companies from accessing funds (including venture capital fund). It is therefore necessary that in some instances financial assistance in acquisition of shares be permitted especially if agreed to by the shareholders and interested third parties such as creditors and debenture holders (whose interest are to be protected by the prohibition).

12. Requirement of adopting International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) – the Companies Bill in sections 127(5) and 131(5)(b) provides that financial statements should comply with IFRS. However, there are some inconsistencies with the provisions of the Companies Bill and the IFRS that must be synchronized.

(1) Exclusion of Subsidiary From Consolidation IFRS – under IFRS, a subsidiary is excluded from consolidation when control is lost. However, the Companies Bill section 131(3)(b) provides as follow:

Subject to the approval of the Registrar, consolidated financial statements need not deal with a subsidiary of the company if the company’s directors are of opinion that:

 It is impracticable or would be of no real value to the members  and debenture holders  of the company  in view of the insignificance  of the amount involved; or

 It would involve expense of delay  out of proportion to the value to members or debenture holders of the company ; or

 The results would be misleading  or harmful to  the business of the company or any of its subsidiaries; or

 The business of the holding company and that  of the subsidiaries are so different that they cannot  reasonably  be treated  as a  single undertaking

This is inconsistent with the IFRS standard and leave it to too much discretion. It is recommended that this section be deleted and IFRS standard should be applicable.

(2) Transaction Cost on Issue of Shares – under IFRS, Transaction Costs of an equity transaction are deducted from equity. The Companies Bill section 68(1)(a), however, provides that Transaction Costs on issuing of shares are not deducted from the total proceeds of every share issue. These are therefore charged to statement of income. The suggestion is the IFRS should be adopted and the treatment of Transaction Cost under the Companies Bill should be deleted.

13. Filing of Annual Return – The reporting requirements for companies particularly the filing of annual returns with the required financial statements should be looked at to make the reporting requirements more simple to enable the “small” companies comply with the requirement without incurring the huge expenses to engage qualified accountants to prepare accounts and engage qualified auditors to audit the financial statements prior to filing their annual return. This is burdensome on such small companies in terms of their ability to afford such incremental cost to be in compliance. 

Notwithstanding the suggestion on defining a small company provided above, such Small Companies which are in specialized industries must comply with all the provisions relating to financial statements contained in their respective industry legislation. The financial burden of meeting the respective financial reporting be it quarterly, semi-annually or annual should be reviewed to grant the MSMEs for other yearly reporting unless the business is seeking public solicitation for support when they stand to meet standard requirements.

14. Qualification of Company Secretary – the Company Secretary plays critical role in ensuring compliance with legal requirements imposed under the Companies Act and the current Companies Bill. The Companies Bill permits a Director to act as a Company Secretary (a position maintained from the Companies Act, 1963). It is recommended that this practice is against good corporate governance principle. The Companies Bill should therefore prohibit acting in such dual capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEF orgainses training of trainers’ program for member associations

A group photograph of participants at the training workshop in Accra

 

MSMEs in Ghana face numerous challenges that hinder their operations. Key among them is the lack of enhanced technical and managerial skills to effectively run their businesses to become competitive, profitable and grow to create jobs. In Ghana, this inability to adequately understand the dynamics of their sector of operations makes MSMEs uncompetitive. Their inefficiency is characterized by the following; failing to track their finances; low reserve capital; poor choice of location; poor execution of operations and non-viable business model; absence of innovations; ineffective marketing strategies; paucity or absence of pertinent information; and underestimating the competition.

All the above can be attributed to shallow and mediocre management capabilities of the majority of owners and managers of these companies or businesses coupled with low skills-set and inadequate technical abilities of the staff of these businesses for efficient operations. This therefore calls for a holistic approach that will continuously provide sustainable capacity building solutions to these businesses. To strengthen the capacities and capabilities of the associations to deliver to their constituent members PEF engaged the BUSAC Fund for support to build the capacity of the technical team of the Federation and its member associations to impart succinct training to their constituent businesses.

As a result of a nationwide programme that was undertaken by PEF in 2015, the following capacity building needs were identified; Research and Advocacy, Data aggregation and Record Keeping, Business plan development and Financial Management, Participation in Public Tenders, Taxation. To ensure sustainability of the provision of training to these SMEs, PEF adopted a Training of Trainers (TOT) approach. This will ensure that the secretariat of PEF and the beneficiary member associations have the requisite skills to continue to administer these trainings beyond the support to be provided by the BDS consultant. Subsequently, the Federation will roll out these trainings on a large scale.

 

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