The Managing Director of Unilever Ghana, Ms Maidie Arkutu, has expressed confidence in the long term viability of the Ghanaian economy in spite of the present challenges.

The economy has suffered major shocks, key of which are declining commodity prices, energy challenges and increased inflation which has reduced the confidence of most businesses in the country.

Speaking at the GRAPHIC BUSINESS/FIDELITY BANK breakfast meeting in Accra, Ms Arkutu said despite the confidence, it was also necessary for the challenges to be fully addressed.

?Many organisations such as Unilever have strong confidence in the long term viability in the economy of Ghana, nonetheless, we have to address the economic challenges,? she said.

The meeting, which was the second in the series for the year was on the theme, ?The economy and prospects for business confidence.?
It brought together various stakeholders to explore the challenges facing the economy and to come up with ideas on how to address those challenges to boost business confidence in Ghana.

Most businesses have felt the full brunt of the unstable power situation over the last six months which had led to the collapse of some businesses while others incur extra cost in order to remain in business.

Inflation has also been on the ascendancy since the beginning of the year, with the latest figure being 16.9 per cent for May 2015. The rising inflation is as a result of the pass through effect of increase in petroleum prices and the depreciation of the cedi.

According to her, plans to restore confidence in the economy as outlined by the Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terpker, had commenced and, therefore, it was only a matter of time for the positive impact to be felt.

?I was very much comforted with the various short term and medium term solutions around each of those economic shock elements mentioned earlier. You do not only get to understand the issues but you also know the root cause and the short to medium term plans to address them,? she said.

Ms Arkutu further said, ?I say this for myself and I am sure that the discussion has really addressed the key issues and opened our understanding of what is going on in the economy.?

A survey conducted by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) showed that business confidence in the first quarter of 2015 had dropped significantly.

Per the findings of the survey, the business confidence index dropped to 85.0 in Q1, 2015 from 98 points in Q4 2014.

The drop was as a result of the impact of the economic challenges prevailing currently in the country, particularly, the power crisis and the depreciation of the cedi which is adversely affecting businesses.

The Business Barometer Indicator (BBI) of the AGI is a proprietary tool that measures the level of confidence in the business environment and predicts short-term business trend.

To a large extent, businesses expect the measures promised by the government to materialise in the short to medium term to ease the incessant pressure on high energy cost, high utility cost, fast depreciating cedi, among other things on their businesses.

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