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Wholesale and retail trading dominates Ghana’s economy

By: Fred Yaw Sarpong

Wholesale and retail activities by Ghanaians are said to be the major business entities established in the country and also dominate Ghana’s economy than any other businesses.

According to the Integrated Business Establishment Survey (IBES) conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) in 2014, wholesale and retail activities recorded about 55.1% in the service sector making it the subsector that employs more persons in Ghana.

Apart from the wholesale and retail businesses which recorded the highest in the country, those engaged in other service activities had 20%. Meanwhile, those in accommodation and food business sectors recorded 10.7% and those in the education sector had 5.8%.

Others are arts, entertainment and recreation 1.1%; human health and social work 1.2%; public administration and defence 0.7%; administrative and support service activities 1.2%; professional, scientific and technical 1.4%; real estate 0.1%; financial and insurance 1.4%; information and communication 0.8%; and transportation and storage 0.5%.

The GSS report reveals that more than one-quarter (29.2%) of the businesses in the wholesale and retail trade subsector are located in the Greater Accra region. About one-fifth of the businesses in the subsector (20.4%) are located in the Ashanti region while the Upper East region had the least proportion of (2.0%).

In the accommodation and food subsector, about one-quarter of the businesses (26.0%) are in the Greater Accra region, 17.0% in the Ashanti region and 10.8% are in the Western region.

The report stated that about 353,890 (67.9%) of the businesses started operation between 2005 and 2014. The number is more than three times the number of businesses that started operation between 1985 and 1994.

It further noted that the service sector has a large number of businesses classified as micro-sized. The distribution shows that 421,278 are micro, 96,024 are small, 7,934 are medium and 1,925 are large entities.

Dr. John Gatsi, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast School of Business said the wholesale and retail sectors dominated the economy in 2014 because that was basic activities that offered many Ghanaians job opportunity to do.

“If other sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture were to be vibrant, we wouldn’t have seen wholesale and retail trading dominating the economy,” he added.

He mentioned there is need to also take critical look at other areas such as health, education and communication sectors which may have impact on the economy.

According to him, on health sector specialize facilities could be establish in various region of the country in order to create employment and also offer supports to those who will need specially care services.

The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Barima Dr. Ofori- Ameyaw I who is well known as Mr. George Ofori promised to talk to Daily Express on wholesale and retail businesses in Ghana. But subsequent calls yielded negative.


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