Business News of 2014-03-13

Comment: Made-in-Ghana goods – Gov’t must show the way

President John Dramani Mahama, in his speech to mark the 57th anniversary of Ghana’s independence, made a passionate call to Ghanaians to increase their patronage of made-in-Ghana goods.

“In every single thing we use, let us consider how much of it was made in Ghana,” President Mahama stated The call comes at a time when the value of the cedi is consistently falling against the major foreign currencies because of the heavy importation to the neglect of locally produced ones.

Many experts have argued that unless the trade imbalance between Ghana and its trading partners changes in favour of Ghana, very little can be achieved in our quest to stabilise the cedi.

To enable the country to produce more local goods to meet the taste and aspiration of the people, there is the need for industry to thrive in a manner that will impact not only on the prices of what is produced but also match the quality imported into the country.

It is obvious that the local industries have been an easy target for the government to collect taxes. They are slapped with heavy import duties on raw materials they source from outside the country and are also charged heavy taxes on their profits. In the end, their cost of operation goes high and they are forced to pass on the cost to the consumers, making the products uncompetitive.

Industry is also faced with the challenge of inefficient water and electricity supplies and a continuous increase in prices of petroleum products. That notwithstanding, the tariffs on utilities keep increasing almost every other month, making the players in that sector unable to forecast for the year.

While the GRAPHIC BUSINESS shares in the call by the President to Ghanaians to patronise locally produced goods, it is imperative for the government to, listen to the cry of industry and find not only pragmatic but long-term solutions to their challenges to enable them to produce at competitive costs to match what is imported.

The paper also believes that the government, being the biggest spender in the country, has to take the lead in ensuring that it uses its purchasing power to procure goods from local industries. By that, they will be able to expand their business and provide more employment for the teaming unemployed youth in the country.

We often compare ourselves with countries such as Korea, Malaysia among others, forgetting that it took the firm decision of their leaders to get their citizens to patronise their local goods and that has made them industrial giants today.

The paper believes that, although we may be late, the die is not cast and the President must show leadership by walking the talk.