The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) says it will play a meaningful role in the general election to ensure that electioneering activities do not crowd out issues affecting industry.
The President of the association, Mr Tony Oteng-Gyasi, said the association would invite all presidential aspirants to tell industry of their plans and how they intended to achieve them.
“This year, we should do politics on the basis of issues, and the economy, trade and industrial issues should be major components,” he said in an interview.
He said pertinent and probing questions should be asked about how the politicians intended to solve specific trade and industrial challenges, adding that they should not be allowed to make unattainable political statements.
“In the course of the year, we will call on all the flag bearers to meet with the AGI and other related bodies to discuss their programmes for trade and industry so that they can also hear from industry,” Mr Oteng-Gyasi said.
Politics in the country has moved several leaps and bounds from mere propaganda oratory, pettiness and trading of insults to issue-based debates and open discussions.
This year, the manufacturers' mouthpiece, the AGI, will contribute to deepening the democratic and political process by engineering a realistic issue-centred political campaigning.
Asked how industry planned to deal with the surge of Chinese presence in the country, Mr Oteng-Gyasi, who is also the Managing Director of Tropical Cable and Conductor Ltd (TCCL), said the issue was of great concern to the association, which was collaborating with the Ghana Standards Board to deal with aspects of it.
He said the intervention of such regulatory bodies, including the Food and Drugs Board, with the enforcement of non-tariff barriers such as labelling and quality requirements, would bring the situation under control.
On business opportunities under the Africa Cup of Nations (Ghana 2008) which kicks off in Ghana from January 20, Mr Oteng-Gyasi described an earlier meeting between the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Ghana's business community as a step in the right direction.
As a result of that, some Ghanaian firms won contracts with the LOC, but the AGI President expressed regret that some still imported the bulk of what they supplied. “It is too late to correct the anomaly but the move is a good initiative and a good beginning,” he stated.
Story by Samuel Doe Ablordeppey