The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has called on Government to help increase patronage of locally produced goods by curbing the importation of similar products.
Mr Dela Gadzanku, the Volta/Eastern/Oti Chairman of the Association, at the opening of Volta Trade, Investment and Cultural Fair in Ho, said indigenous producers were losing the local market to offshore companies, which would require the bold intervention of government.
“If constraints are not placed on importation of commodities locally produced here, there will be a huge leakage of profits to offshore companies. Many businesses are struggling to match up to the game and this isn’t healthy for our economy”, he said.
Mr Gadzanku said the Association welcomed Government’s decision not to introduce new taxes in the 2020 Budget, but noted that the current industrialisation drive required microeconomic stability and a befitting fiscal policy.
“Local businesses cry out for a deep commitment from Government to chart a competitive path for companies to thrive. This requires a reengineering of the current tax regime, which presents major constraints to industrial growth and stability”, he said.
Mr Gadzanku appealed to Government to “seriously review” the present 50 per cent reduction in benchmark value, saying it “renders our local industries uncompetitive in the business landscape”.
“Killer bugs” that weakened the competitiveness of local industries in the African Continental Free Trade Area must be given careful attention, he said, and called for active participation of citizens in the One District One Factory initiative to ensure its success.
He called for Government’s support for local rice producers, particularly those in the Volta Region, saying the Region had the potential to become the rice basket of the West African sub-region.
Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, who opened the Fair, on the theme: “Sustainable Investment and Industrial Growth through Trade Promotion”, called on Ghanaians to patronise locally produced goods to help increase their production.
The Minister said government remained committed to providing opportunities for small and medium scale industries (SMEs), and introducing business regulatory reforms and standard rules to help them grow.
“Government is in the process of enacting legislation to ensure that local participation and contracts awarded to foreigners are significant and focuses on healthy partnerships that can benefit local industries”, he said.
Mr Ahenkorah said government had also considered both soft and hard infrastructure, key to the development of local production, and had concentrated efforts on serving all viable business enclaves with the needed infrastructure.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, said the Region had a “long list” of investment potentials, and called for responsible investment that would protect the environment.
He said a highly skilled labour market was a major attraction to investors and that the teeming youth must acquire skills to benefit from the industrialisation agenda.
The fair runs from November 22 to December 01, and has over 200 exhibitors from the automobile, civil engineering, agro processing, crafts, and hospitality industries.
Major industry associations and partners, including the AGI, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), and the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) are exhibiting and networking with SMEs.
The various municipal and district assemblies also have their investment and tourism potentials on display.
Incubator platforms would also be provided at the fair to connect SMEs to seasoned industry players to help develop and globally market their products and services.