Trade Minister-designate, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has been advised by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dalex Finance, Ken Thompson, not to repeat the mistakes associated with the implementation of the the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSIs) during his tenure under the previous Kufuor administration which led to their collapse. According to Mr Thompson, the business community would oppose any attempts by Mr Kyerematen to repeat such mistakes, adding that they would keep an eagle eye on him. Mr Thompson told Starr fm, an Accra-based radio station that “the initiatives failed because they were all led by the government and not the private sector. Which private sector man will go and put a 10 million factory in Kasoa and allow it to be run down? “So if Alan Kyerematen is going to come back to do what he did in the past, not only will we resist him fiercely, but they will all fail,” he stated. Ayensu Starch Company Limited (ASCO) is one of the signature projects of former President Kufuor. It was inaugurated in 2004 as the hub for cassava production in Ghana and Africa. However, it collapsed in 2006, two years after it started, as a result of inadequate raw materials supply, frequent power outages, the lack of spare parts and working capital, among other debilitating factors. To help salvage the factory, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), initiated plans to revamp the factory in 2010, leading to the resumption of operations in 2011. However, that was short-lived, as the company lost most of its customers following its shut down for years. In another development, the Ghana Union Traders’ Association (GUTA), has called on the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo administration to restore the three percent flat Value Added Tax (VAT) rate which was increased to 17.5 percent by the previous administration. Lauding the nomination of Alan Kyerematen by President Akufo-Addo, it expressed the belief that its concerns would be addressed. “Alan Kyerematen is on top of trade issues, so we have confidence in him,” Joseph Paddy, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the association disclosed. It further called for the reduction in certain taxes that crippled most businesses in the country to date.
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