Last Friday, the chiefs and people of Juapong in the Volta Region defied a heavy downpour to witness the inauguration of the erstwhile Juapong Textiles Limited (JTL) by President John Agyekum Kufuor. They had a good reason for doing so. Why?
Juapong has had its fair share of industrial development. Those were the days when Ghana Textile Printing Company (GTP) and Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company (GTMC) were in full bloom.
However, JTL whose activities enhanced economic and commercial activities in the town went under in recent years and there was the need to revitalise the factory.
It became apparent that the company could not operate effectively and efficiently with obsolete equipment and machinery in the prevailing highly competitive world. The global competition has no place for any factory that uses dinosaur machines and equipment.
Consequently for the company to remain in business there was the need to re-tool and revamp it with modern and efficient equipment.
Unfortunately, efforts to bring fresh life into the company were misunderstood by some people who gave all sorts of interpretation to it. Indeed it was rumoured that the effort was a calculated attempt to kill the industry in the area.
Now that the company has been revitalised, it has negated all the frivolous, baseless and unfounded allegations.
What government worth its salt will make deliberate attempts to kill a factory which is expected to give job and wealth to the people?
In the face of the prevailing high levels of unemployment among the youth especially, it would have been suicidal to do so.
Happily the company has been resurrected under the new name of Volta Star Textiles Limited. Indeed the inauguration of the modernised factory is significant in many respects.
Apart from providing jobs for the people to help sustain themselves and their dependants economically, the new company is expected to ease the plight of cotton farmers in the northern part of the country.
Some of the cotton farmers have been anguished by the fact that they do not have any market for their produce and have been abandoned to their fate. Such a situation discourages farmers from expanding their farms.
We expect that the management of the company will come up with well thought-out strategies to ease the problem of the cotton farmers. By so doing, it will be contributing effectively towards poverty reduction and thereby bring smiles back to the faces of the worried farmers.
It is our candid hope that the Chinese on the management team will bring their rich experience in textile manufacturing to bear on the operations of the company so that there will be quality products at reasonable prices.
Another important issue is industrial peace. It is our prayer that the management will not allow anything to disturb the industrial peace needed to keep the factory going.
Equally, workers must work assiduously and bear in mind that rights go with responsibilities.
When the two sides recognise their respective and critical roles and play them well, the Volta Star will shine.
Article by K. B. Asante