CalBank and Focus One Media build capacity of SMEs in Takoradi

Takoradi, Nov. 15, GNA - CalBank and Focus One Media have held a business forum dubbed “CalBank/Focus One Media SME Clinic” for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Takoradi.

The event was to create a common platform for business owners, entrepreneurs and financial experts to have discussions on how businesses in the Region could thrive without obstacles.

Addressing the participants, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Focus one Media, Mr Kwame Adu-Mante underscored the need to build the capacity of SMEs on specific knowledge in digital finance, taxation, bookkeeping and benefits of insurance.

He added that the dynamics of contemporary business called for continuous learning to be able to create solutions to relevant modern business issues.

Mr Adu-Mante called on the participants to take the presentations seriously to acquire knowledge to employ modern technologies to sustain their businesses in the competitive market.

According to him, though SMEs contributed about 70 percent of Ghana’s GDP, they were faced with various challenges including; access to funds and issues about taxation among others.

Mrs Martha Acquaye, Head of Digital and Inclusive Banking at CalBank spoke on digital financing and said it comprised a broad range of financial services accessed and delivered through digital channels, including; payments, credit, savings, remittances and insurance and mobile financial services.

She indicated that while technological innovation in finance was not new, investment in new technologies had substantially increased in recent years and the pace of innovation was exponential.

According to her, artificial intelligence, social networks, machine learning, mobile applications, distributed ledger technology, cloud computing and big data analytics had given rise to new services and business models by established financial institutions and new market entrants.

Mrs Acquaye maintained that such technologies could benefit both consumers and companies by enabling greater access to financial services, offering wider choice and increasing efficiency of operations.

Mr George Amankwa-Boateng, Director in charge of Western/Central Area of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) educated participants on the categories of taxes and payment of taxes was grounded in law.

He said the 1992 Constitution enjoined citizens and businesses to declare their income to the appropriate and lawful agencies and to satisfy all tax obligations.

He mentioned the categories of taxes as direct taxes, which included; Company Income Tax (CIT), Personal Income Tax (PIT), Paye As You Earn (PAYE), Withholding Tax (WHT), Capital Gains Tax, Rent Tax and Stamp Duty.

He said indirect taxes included; Value Added Tax (VAT), National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), GetFund Levy, COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy and Communications Service Tax (CST), as well as Customs and Excise Duties.

Mr Amankwa-Boateng gave the assurance that the GRA would intensify its educational campaigns to increase the knowledge of SMEs and the public on tax regulations and the benefits of paying taxes.

Mr Philip Owiredu, Managing Director of Calbank pointed out that having insurance cover for businesses was crucial due to the risk and uncertainty associated with day-to-day business activities.

He deemed the event as a timely intervention and called on participants to apply the knowledge gained in their operations to enhance their businesses, especially on how to deal with banks in terms of the appropriate documentation necessary to secure loans.

Madam Dorothy Tsidi, Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Prudential Life Insurance Ghana enlightened participants on various flexible insurance packages that could cushion the SMEs in times of need and urged them to take advantage of their presence.