The Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Seth Twum Akwaboah, has urged government to come out with a deliberate strategy to propel industrial growth in the country post the covid-19 pandemic.
He says, the outbreak of the pandemic has brought to bear the urgent need for an industrialization plan which, he adds, is critical to Ghana attaining self-sufficiency.
Mr Akwaboah was speaking at a ‘Joy Business Industrialisation Forum, organized by the Joy News, on May 5, 2020 to assess the impact of the coronavirus on industrial growth.
Gov’t industrialization agenda
In August 2017, Government came out with a number of policy reforms to make Ghana the most business-friendly nation in Africa while accelerating socio-economic development and prosperity for all.
To achieve this, a 10-point agenda to transform the industrial sector of the national economy and create job opportunities for the unemployed youth was outlined.
The 10-point agenda was anchored on four thematic areas, namely; building competitive businesses of existing local industries by facilitating access to medium and long term financing at low interest rate, and implementing the One District, One Factory initiative designed to bring industrialisation to the doorsteps of the people.
The remaining are; enhancing the business enabling environment to regulate businesses to perform, lastly to and promote public-private sector dialogue as institutionalised processes for consultation.
President Akuffo-Addo while announcing this initiative at the opening of the Second Edition of the National Policy Summit, in Accra that year, said the government’s agenda for economic growth and job creation was underpinned by a programme of rapid and aggressive industrialisation and value addition, especially in agro-processing and vibrant manufacturing.
However, Mr Akwaboah, is of the view that even though the idea behind the 10-point agenda was laudable because it is aimed at driving industrial growth in the country, there is need for a clear strategy to execute it.
“What is government strategy for industrialization? I believe that is very key to ask. The introduction of certain key programmes such as the one district, one factory were all aimed at doing that. We can assess its impact but generally speaking strategy is the way forward”, he said.
Again, he added that the need for the strategy has even become more important with the coming into force of the intercontinental free trade agreement where “Africa is opening its doors for us and we are also opening our doors for Africa”.
Component of the strategy
“The strategy involves so many things. First of all, you need to have macroeconomic variables right, stability in the macroeconomic variables so that industries can plan and predict”, he said.
The next thing that ought to be done, in Mr Akwaboah’s view, is for government to ensure reasonable levels for cost of production for businesses to enable them compete favourably well in the markets
“If cost of product is high, it doesn’t make it competitive no matter how hard you work as an industry player or as a company. For example electricity is high, borrowing at very high cost and you don’t have access to medium to long term capital to do expansion. So the factors within the business environment has to be right”, he said.
Deal with external factors
Consequently, he urged government to work towards eliminating all the external factors that inhibit the growth of industry in the country and leave that which is within the purview of businesses to handle themselves.
The strategy, he further added, should focus on how industry can be assisted to expand and produce more for the needs of the country while also creating employment in the process.
By Salifu B.B. Moro