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Business News of Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Source: GNA

Oil discovery calls for action on salt industry - Boateng

Accra, Feb. 25, GNA - Mr. Edward Collins Boateng, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC), says the discovery of oil should provide the necessary impetus for concrete action to develop the salt industry in the country. Speaking at a stakeholders' workshop in Accra to discuss the salt sector strategy, Mr. Boateng called for concerted action from policy makers, support organizations as well as enterprises to accelerate the pace of the sector's development.

Ghana has the production potential of 2.2 million metric tonnes of salt annually but currently produces only 250,000 metric tonnes, which is worth an estimated 2.558 million dollars. The Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) identified the sector as one to be promoted to aid the diversification of the economy. However, Mr Boateng said to be able to make the desired impact and to ensure that salt sector played its role in the country's economic development, challenges of land acquisition, production technology and long-term financing must be dealt with. There would also be the need to develop innovative approaches in mobilizing individual production units in order to increase economies of scale.

Ms Estella Aryada of the Commonwealth Secretariat said the development of the salt industry should not be seen as business as usual since the production had the potential to help in the eradication of poverty.

She said the Commonwealth Secretariat was ready to support Ghana's competitiveness in the salt sector. The GEPC requested the Commonwealth Secretariat to define a framework to guide the development of the salt sector to enhance its exportation. Consequently, a team of consultants embarked on a process, which included on-site assessments, interviews, meetings and market analysis. The draft strategy, which was the subject of discussion at the workshop, would be submitted to government for implementation. The consultants said the strategy isolated the different categories of salt producers on the basis of their volume, scale of operation and growth potential and also recommended actions to be taken at various levels.

They said the strategy also intended to set realistic targets to increase volumes, incomes and productivity by developing more innovative approaches in mobilizing individual production units to increase economies of scale. The consultants argued that, though the country would not be a world player in the industry, the strategy would help build on her position as a long and reliable supplier to her neighbouring countries. 25 Feb. 09