Mr Dela Gadzanku, the Volta/Eastern/Oti Chair of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has appealed to the government to speed up the disbursement of the Coronavirus stimulus package to businesses.
He said businesses were looking up to the package and urged the government to expedite plans to enable medium-scale industries to access the funds.
Mr Gadzanku made the call at a day’s workshop organised by the Volta/Eastern/Oti branches of the AGI in Ho to help local Micro, Small and Medium Scale (MSMEs) Enterprises take advantage of its upcoming e-commerce platform.
“We are happy about the interventions by the government, especially the USD 100 million CAP and we ask the government to expedite plans to give out the funds. The fund would cushion us," he said.
The Chairman said the pandemic demanded that businesses invested more in digitising their systems to share in the emerging digital space, and said the AGI was also “moving more digitally," with the creation of a business to business (B2B) online marketplace.
He said the Association is focusing strongly on sustaining workforces through the pandemic, helping businesses reconstruct to produce essentials and high demand products.
“We are working against layoffs despite the difficulty. We are engaging members to strategise and work to ensure the pandemic did not result in job loses,” he said.
The workshop was to help members utilise the online market being piloted by the Branch in collaboration with Ghanaian tech company Logic Go.
Mr Gadzanku said the online market would open up the international market to local industries, adding the Association was helping enhance product packaging and certification.
He noted, however, that the bureaucracy and cost involved in certification were barriers to the development and growth of startups and MSMEs.
He called for interventions, including sensitisation and establishment of regional testing centres to end delays.
Mr Emmanuel Agbah, the Regional Manager of the Ghana Standards Authority, asked businesses to invest in enhancing standards of their products since it would pave the way to the international markets.
He said, however, that the use of forged documents by some producers delayed the process, and appealed that authorities be furnished with the right information.
Mr Hope Amrado, the Regional Director of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), said packaging remained a major challenge for most Ghanaian industries and called for a “whole institute” dedicated to enhancing packaging.
He also underscored the need for economic intelligence to help local industries meet international competition.