Business News of 2014-06-11

WB holds workshop on manufacturing competitiveness

Ghana has been commended for excelling and achieving rapid growth in the areas of doing business and trading, and also ranking good among her peers in upper middle income countries over the past few years.
Mr Yusupha B. Crookes, Country Director of World Bank, Ghana, who was addressing a stakeholder’s workshop on Ghana’s manufacturing competitiveness on Tuesday, said the successes have been evident by the numerous foreign investor interest and influxes into the country over the past few years.
Mr Crookes said a lot more would be achieved if Ghana’s economy is diversified from its current over dependency on natural resources to areas such as the manufacturing and agricultural sectors to create more employment opportunities and income for Ghanaians.
He said the country is expected to create between six and seven million employments over the next decade and, therefore, there is a need for a shift to non-oil resource sectors to maintain economic growth and stability for national development.
According to him Ghana’s economy has a huge potential for further growth, but “the challenge has been how to maintain the momentum of growth that has been achieved and ensuring that much attention and support is given to expand other areas such as the manufacturing and agricultural sectors for maximum benefit."
The workshop, which was organised by World Bank Ghana Office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, seeks to engage stakeholders to brainstorm on how best to harness the complexities of the technological era for the growth of the manufacturing sector boost competitiveness.
There would be a panel discussion on the results and implications from an analytical work that was undertaken by the World Bank research team in support of the government of Ghana’s policy agenda to tackle private sector growth through industry strengthening.
Other topics for discussions include diversifying Ghana’s industrial sector and enhancing product sophistication, trade logistics and the regulatory environment in Ghana, as well as the sub-national geography of competitiveness.
Mr Crookes said Ghana’s economic growth has been underpinned by commodities such as gold, cocoa, timber and oil, and this has created a huge challenge because their prices are volatile as they could either rise or fall.
He also suggested a strict improvement in economic management in order to sustain competition in the extractive sectors as they are time bound.
Mr Kofi Afresah Nuhu, Director in Charge of Manufacturing at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, disclosed that government is doing so much to improve the manufacturing and agricultural sectors to make them strong.
According to him, the Ministry has identified certain key areas for support and these include the agro-processing, pharmaceutical, plastics, the wood, as well as the poultry industries.
He said pharmaceutical sector is been supported with GH? 60 million while GH? 500 million has been awarded to support Shea nut extraction in the northern part of the country to increase income and create employment.
Mr Nuhu said the Ministry had also been given approval for the release of GH? 10 million as funding from the Export Development and Investment Fund to support the Breeder-based project in the poultry industry, and would be working in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture on the production of maize to feed the poultry industry also to generate not only the market for farmers, but create more employment for the youth.