Ghana needs to become a nation of entrepreneurs. We cannot separate the need to create new jobs from the need to create new businesses and support new entrepreneurs. If we are able to create one million new businesses after eight years of LPG government, we will create at least 5 million jobs.
Ghana has more than enough hard-working, resourceful people to make this happen. All it needs now is the right government. We proudly call ourselves the party of small business because small businesses are where national prosperity begins. Small businesses such as main street retailers, entrepreneurs, independent contractors, and direct sellers create most of a country’s new jobs and prosperity.
Liberal Party of Ghana will advance a multi-pronged plan to support small business and grow good-paying jobs:
- Through the energy agenda laid out elsewhere in this platform, we will attack the rise in energy costs that is making it so difficult for entrepreneurs to compete.
- Our tax reduction and tax simplification agenda will allow businesses to focus on producing and selling their products and services – not on paying taxes.
- Our determination to vigorously open foreign markets to Ghanaian products is an opportunity for many small businesses to grow larger in the global economy.
- Our approach to regulation – basing it on sound science to achieve goals that are technically feasible – will protect against job-killing intrusions into small businesses.
- Our commitment to legal reform means protecting small businesses from the effects of frivolous lawsuits.
Using history as our guide, we look to innovative entrepreneurs for the ingenuity and daring that can give us the next generation of technological progress. The advances our country needs, in everything from health care to energy to environmental protection, are most likely to come from the men and women of small business.
An LPG government would ensure that all the obstacles that prevent businesses from getting off the ground are removed.
The government can make it easier for Ghanaians to start and grow their own businesses. Our key proposals with regard to small business development are fleshed out below:
- Cash-flow assistance for small businesses.
The LPG believes that cash-flow pressures on small businesses can be relieved by introducing a three-year Tax Loss Carry-back for businesses with a turnover of less than GHc5 million. This would allow a small cyclical business to recoup a loss by setting it off against a prior year profit. As an elective alternative, declare that a tax credit that derives from an assessed loss (which hasn’t been claimed as above) can be set off against VAT payable. This will terminate at the commencement of the year following that in which the taxpayer’s estimate of tax for the second provisional payment exceeds GHS50,000.
- Entrepreneurship competition.
We will enter into partnership with companies, NGOs and local business schools and training centres to establish an annual ‘My Future Starts Now’ entrepreneurship competition for 18 to 30 year olds that will pay a cash prize each year to an individual or group of individuals responsible to developing a winning business plan. The exact amount would differ from year to year, depending on partner contributions.
This could be coupled with an entrepreneurship week in which participants are encouraged to get involved in activities related to entrepreneurship.
- Start a business voucher support programme.
The LPG would pilot a Business Voucher Support Programme (BVSP) to offer support services to small start-ups, or small enterprises employing fewer than five people. The business voucher will be exchangeable for a business skills-, management-, financial skills- or relevant technical programme at an accredited business skills provider. Recipients will have to be over the age of 21 and must present a feasible business plan.
- Introduce opportunity vouchers.
In government the LPG would implement an opportunity voucher programme that will provide funding to newly graduates or young adults who would like to start their own businesses. The voucher would entitle the graduate to:
- seed capital to establish small or micro enterprises subject to a well-formed business plan; or
- a government guarantee to cover loans extended by commercial banks to graduates to establish small or micro enterprises subject to the submission of a basic business plan and other requirements.
- Establish effective small business incubators in partnership with the private sector.
If they are managed efficiently, staffed with knowledgeable, experienced personnel and maintain close relationships with established businesses, small business incubators can provide an effective platform for targeted support to small business.
- Opportunity centres.
An LPG government would establish Opportunity Centres, which will serve as One-Stop-Shops for small businesses and as a central node for young job-seekers and entrepreneurs to access support.
These centres will allow prospective entrepreneurs to register a company name, lodge their documentation with the Registrar General, and register with GRA, the Department of Labour and SSNIT – all with a single online form and with a single registration fee. This will significantly reduce the time and cost of opening a business. Applicants will be able to follow the registration through an online tracking system that will highlight each stage of the process as it is completed.
One-stop shops will also be used as portals to access small business support initiatives and to disseminate information on tendering for government business.
The efficacy of these centres should be supported through a toll-free national call centre for small businesses, offering information on all aspects of setting up a small business and referring callers to their closest one-stop-shop for support in addressing specific challenges in running their business.
- Encouraging government procurement of goods and services from small business entities and ensuring that micro-entrepreneurs are made aware of these opportunities.
- Awareness programmes on support available to small business owners. Many business owners are not aware of the support available to them and the various support programmes run by the government.
LPG government will partner the private sector to invest GHc200.0million annually to build industrial parks in every district capital nationwide to house new and existing businesses in Ghana.
We will support those working in the textile and leather industry to produce clothes, shoes, bags, etc. for local consumption and export to our neighbouring countries.