Ishmael Yamson bemoans decline of manufacturing sector
A former board chairman of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Dr Ishmael Yamson has bemoaned the decline of Ghana’s manufacturing sector, stressing that an immediate plan to rebuild the sector is necessary to create jobs and reduce poverty in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the 50th anniversary celebrations of textiles manufacturer, Tex Styles Ghana Limited (GTP), in Tema on Tuesday, Dr Yamson said the government’s performance in supporting the local manufacturing industry had “not been spectacular”.
He said the government had supervised the decline of both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, banking its hopes on oil as what would “change our lives”.
Those hopes, he said, had all but fizzled following the fall in crude prices from a high of $140 at the time Ghana began production to $28 currently.
Dr Yamson said: “We need to have a visionary and more definitive plans and strategies to rebuild our manufacturing sector.
“We need to go back to the basics to support agriculture.”
These interventions, he said, were imperative to end Ghana’s dependence on imports, create jobs for the citizenry and reduce poverty.
Dr Yamson, who was Managing Director of GTP in the early 90s, said he was “deeply emotional” as he congratulated the company on its golden jubilee.
He expressed gratitude to the investors, who, he said, had “put their faith and money” in GTP at a time the company was not attractive.
“They stood firm. They stood behind the company. They stood behind the workers,” he said of the investors.
Dr Yamson said in the face of all the odds, GTP had innovated its way to success. “I commend you and I congratulate you,” he added.
The Managing Director of GTP, Kofi Boateng, said over the last 50 years, the company’s fortunes had been very diverse, mirroring, according to him, the economic and political climate prevailing in the country.
He said despite “numerous challenges”, the company had kept faith with Ghana throughout the years and was currently employing 1,000 people directly and 5,000 people indirectly.
Mr Boateng lauded the government’s effort in supporting the textiles industry, noting that the Wear Made in Ghana (Friday Wear) campaign initiated by Mr Alan Kyeremateng during his tenure as Minister for Trade and Industry was highly beneficial.
“We also observe with appreciation the recent efforts by the President of the Republic, His Excellency John Mahama and the current sector Minister, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah to push through with the Made in Ghana agenda,” he said.
The GTP MD also applauded the establishment of the Anti-Piracy Task Force during the tenure of Madam Hannah Tetteh as Trade Minister and the waiver of import duties on raw materials and other machine parts by the government.
He drew attention to what he said was the frightening menace of counterfeiting and smuggling of GTP products and brands.
Mr Boateng said: “GTP is essentially into the business of selling designs and colours, not just fabrics. So, when these well thought through and crafted designs, colour combinations and sometimes brand logos are copied, counterfeited and smuggled into the country at ridiculously low prices, it becomes a real challenge to deal with. This menace is our biggest challenge.
“This has greatly curtailed the contributions that GTP could make to the economy in terms of increased employment, foreign currency earnings and taxation.”
The newly appointed Central Regional Minister, Mr Kweku Rickett-Hagan, who was Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, emphasised what he said was government’s commitment to support the textile and garment sector.
He said the Anti-Piracy Task Force would intensify efforts to “curb the menace of illegal importation of Ghanaian counterfeits clothes” and accelerate the promotion of what he called ‘National Everyday Wear’.
Mr Rickett-Hagan, who was the deputy minister for Trade and Industry before President Mahama’s cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, commended GTP for contributing to the economy and helping create jobs.
The GTP 50th anniversary launch featured a photo exhibition depicting 50 years in the brand’s history, a fashion show and performances by the GTP Jubilee Choir.
Several eminent personalities, including Dr Joyce Aryee, Mr Alan Kyeremateng, Dr Sherry Ayittey, and Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo attended the event.