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Business News of Thursday, 27 May 2021

Source: GNA

AGI urges government to prioritise interventions to prop up industry

Seth Twum-Akwaboah, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Seth Twum-Akwaboah, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI)

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has urged the government to prioritise its interventions to prop up industry after a drastic slowdown in business activity last year, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the launch of the 10th Ghana Industry and Quality Awards, Chief Executive of the AGI, Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said although government support programmes for Industry were commendable the timeliness of the interventions would make a big difference in resuscitating local businesses.

“I, therefore, urge Government to expedite action of its Obaatanpa CARES programme to propel us to leverage the opportunities in the AfCFTA. We are anxious to see how these initiatives can inure to building local capacity for export diversification in a competitive manner,” he said.

Mr Twum-Akwaboah said it was extremely important that industry received the needed support to build its local production and manufacturing infrastructure to add value to its commodities for export as well as develop the capacities of the human resource to fully benefit from the AfCFTA.

“I am certain that with the right incentives and support for industry, our participation in AfCFTA will stimulate diversification of the Ghanaian economy and open up access to opportunities for businesses in Ghana,” he said.

He welcomed the government’s efforts to establish the Development Bank Ghana, saying access to credit and cost of credit remain major challenges to Small Medium Enterprises.

The AGI Ghana Industry and Quality Awards have provided an extraordinary platform for celebrating industrial excellence. The 2021 edition will be held on the theme: “Repositioning local Industry to leverage AfCFTA.”

Launching the award, Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry, in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Hawkins Asiedu, a Technical Director at the Ministry, said the benefits of AfCFTA would not automatically inure to the benefit of Ghanaian industries unless there were conscious interventions.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to change the structure of the economy by addressing production capacity issues and ensuring value-addition.

Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority, Professor Alex Dodoo expressed his outfit’s support for the AGI’s Quality Awards.

“Standards are everything. At the Standards Authority, we aim to see businesses becoming much competitive for the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement Area. All that will separate them from other brands and products are standards, and we are leading the course to do just that through partnerships as this,” he stated.

Mrs Nora Bannerman-Abbott, Chairperson of the AGI Awards Planning Committee, said the industry Awards would reward and honour companies that had achieved outstanding successes in various areas of industry and innovation in the year under review.

She said for the 2021 awards, the AGI was also instituting a new Award Category titled the Dr. Esther Ocloo Award, which will be given to SMEs which had demonstrated resilience and perseverance, among others.

Mrs Bannerman-Abbott said the collaboration with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) was important considering the fact that the awards hinge on quality and standards which are an integral part of excellence.

AGI appreciated and presented certificates to major sponsors of the awards over the period, including OLAM Ghana, B5 Plus, Wilmar Africa, Activa International Insurance, Samartex, Ghacem, Ecobank, and Mericom Solution.