Rising raw materials cost pushing footwear makers out of business

Ghana Made Footwear Chairman of Footwear Manufacturers Association at Asafo Market, Samuel Nkrumah

Fri, 11 Nov 2022 Source: thebftonline.com

Footwear manufacturers in Asafo Market, Kumasi, have bemoaned the frequent increase in prices of raw materials used in producing footwear, saying it is gradually ‘killing’ their businesses.

In an interview with B&FT, Chairman of the Footwear Manufacturers Association at Asafo Market, Samuel Nkrumah, expressed worry that some of their members have added to the huge number of unemployed in the country.

He explained that this could be avoided if prices on the raw materials are affordable and stabilised, at least.

“We used to be so many in the footwear manufacturing industry here in Asafo and Kumasi, we have branches at all the markets in Kumasi and neighbouring communities. But now, if your capital is not huge you won’t get the items on credit. This has led to a reduction in the number of people in the industry. It has increased the level of unemployment in the country, leading to an increase of crime rates in the country,” he said.

According to Mr. Nkrumah, even though the cost of their raw materials increase by the day, it has become very difficult for members to increase the price of their footwear.

“We manufacture and carry these goods on our heads to sell. Our products are not edible, they are footwear. Unlike food that you need every day for survival, ours is not like that. So with the increase in price of goods on the market, it is having a heavy toll on us. Prices of our raw materials keep increasing all the time. You can have a situation where prices increase within a few hours, and the margin is huge,” he noted.

Price increment within the last five months

Mr. Nkrumah told the B&FT that: “A sheet of ‘maakro’ (a card-like material that leather is wrapped around) used to sell at GH¢65, but we are now buying it at GH¢100; the ‘bona’ (rubber leather) too was GH¢22 per sheet, and it is now GH¢45; leather was sold at GH¢25 and we are now buying it at GH¢40 per yard. We were buying 5kg of glue for GH¢120, but it’s GH¢230 now; the 15kg glue was sold at GH¢400 but now it is between GH¢750 and GH¢800.

“All of these goods are imported by individuals, so anytime the dollar shoots up a bit the importers increase the price anyhow. They do not care how we get money to buy. From June prices have shot up. “Even though our raw materials cost has increased by more than 50 percent, we are not able to increase our goods to match. Last week we were selling our sandals at a wholesale price of GH¢15, and we are now trying to sell them at GH¢20,” Mr. Nkrumah said.

We are ready for AfCFTA

On their preparedness to trade in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr. Nkrumah is certain that the Footwear Manufacturers of Kumasi are ready to trade favourably. He noted that they already have their products in most West African countries.

“We are ready for AfCFTA, we already send our goods to South Africa, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mali and other African countries. Some of our members send more than 5,000 pieces to other countries to sell. If we don’t export some, the Ghanaian market cannot contain us. All we need is financial support for our work,” he added.

Source: thebftonline.com
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