polls

Investors hold back over polls

Investors and business associates in Ghana have reduced their investments and participation in the local economy in the first half of the year, in a typical ‘wait and see’ attitude that could reduce the amount of foreign direct investments the country will register in 2016.

The investors are holding back their decisions on investments as they monitor the outcome of the December 7 general elections, the Chief Executive Office of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, has disclosed.

Mr Badu-Aboagye told the Graphic Business in Accra that the investors had adopted the ‘wait and see’ attitude similar to what normally happens in virtually all election years.

This, he said had resulted in few international companies coming to do business in the country.

Slowdown in business activities

On its part, the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has observed that the election period had impacted negatively on business operations of members, with trading activities declining as the elections got closer.

Its president, Mr George Ofori, said that the poor economic fundamentals such as exchange rate, high inflation and interest rates, coupled with the power outages had already impacted negatively the businesses of its members, with the election period making matters worse.

“Prior to the election, members of the association were already complaining of a reduction in sales and this became worse as the political campaigns intensified and the elections got closer,” he stated.

He said this had led to a slowdown in business activities as the ‘wait and see’ attitude had become the order of the day.

“Importers are waiting to see the outcome of the elections before they import, while manufacturers are also waiting for the outcome before they import their raw materials for production,” he noted.

Uncertainties

He said there were many uncertainties in the business arena now because of the elections and expected these uncertainties to continue again after the elections as all businesses will be looking forward to some stability before they put in any investments.

He pointed out that while the general business activities had slowed down, businesses in the printing, hospitality, and transport sectors are booming at the detriment of other economic activities.

He said because business activities had slowed down, investors have decided to put their monies in the banks and wait for the outcome of the election.

Flip side

Notwithstanding the uncertainities, the CEO of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce said the elections had brought positive effects to some members of chamber, majority of which are in the travel and transport, food and beverage and hospitality sector of the economy.

Mr Badu-Aboagye explained that those in the printing industry were also cashing in on the elections, adding that “those in the transport and hospitality industries are also benefiting because of the movement from one region to the other in the course of the campaigns.”

“There have been lots of constructions and commissioning of new infrastructure and those in the construction sector are also getting their fair share,” he stated.

Change in attitude

The CEO of GUTA also called for a change in attitude with regards to how elections are organised in the country.

“In every aspect of economic activities, there are seasonal activities and elections are one of them,” he stated.

“However, the way our elections are organized is not the best considering the uncertainties that surrounds them. You go to other developed countries and you won’t even realize they are voting,” he added.

“We need to start changing by picking the best practices and replicating them so that the hullabaloo concerning elections will be a thing of the past. Business activities should not cease because of elections.”

Graphic