The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has made a passionate appeal to government to establish at least a Ȼ1 billion stimulus package as a short- term measure to save industries from total collapse.
AGI warned that the manufacturing sector continues to shrink and Ghana risks losing its industrial base if government policies do not quickly address challenges confronting them to revive the industrial sector.
The association is also calling for clear timelines that stipulate full restoration of power to industries because there is no concrete step in place to end the rolling power cuts (Dumsor).
The AGI believes these would give industries a little breathing space and could slow down the rate at which workers are being laid off by the day.
President of the AGI, Mr James Asare-Adjei, in an interview with The Finder, said without the above short- term measures, industries would collapse, resulting in more lay-offs.
He argued that during the financial crisis, even capitalist states, such a the United States of America (USA), came up with stimulus packages to save their industries from total collapse.
He explained industry has been battling with numerous challenges but the unprecedented depreciation of the cedi last year and extending load shedding to industrial enclaves broke, the camel’s back, resulting in the massive lay-offs.
The cumulative depreciation of the cedi for 2014 was 31.2% compared to 14.5% in 2013, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has said.
Mr Asare-Adjei was worried that even thought it was agreed that the load shedding; be extended to the industrial enclaves for only December 2014, there is no indication as to when the policy would be reversed.
Rather, the load shedding is continuing in industrial enclaves and is getting worse, he stated.
According to the AG president, companies cannot plan because the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) was not following the load shedding timetable.
As a result, he stated that employers put together a shift system for their workers to continue to produce, but most times, the workers report to duty at times when they should have light according to ECG schedule, only to meet power cuts.
Mr Asare-Adjei said the rapid depreciation of the cedi has led to a high level of taxation through continuous increases in import duties on raw materials charged mainly in foreign currencies such as the dollar.
He listed the high cost of credit, unfair competition on the market, high labour cost, the multiplicity of taxes and excessive port charges as some factors-that were negatively affecting : the growth of Ghanaian businesses.
He-said the country needs long- term plans to revive industry.