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18.12.2002 Business & Finance

Ghana's industrial growth is disappointing - Apraku

Ghana's industrial growth is disappointing - Apraku
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Dr Kofi Apraku, Minister of Trade and Industry, on Wednesday described Ghana's industrial growth rate as "disappointing" saying "all is not well with the industrial sector".

He noted the performance of the sector over the period has been chequered, reaching a peak of 6.4 per cent in 1996, but declined to a mere four per cent in 2000.

Preliminary estimates for 2001 place growth rate at 2.9 per cent. The manufacturing sector's contribution to GDP in the mid-1970's was nearly 15 percent, which also declined to nine per cent between 1996 and 2000.

Dr Apraku said these when he opened a workshop on Ghana's Integrated Industrial Policy in Accra.

The workshop is to finalize discussions on a new industrial policy that would reflect events as they affect Ghana within the local and international context.

He said the poor performance clearly points to the urgent and pressing need to revamp the industrial sector in general and the manufacturing sector in particular to play a central role in ensuring the nation's accelerated socio-economic development and growth attainment of per capita income of 1,000 dollars by 2010.

Dr Apraku said the workshop is a manifestation of government's desire to reach a consensus on major issues that would benefit all parties.

He said the task facing the industrial sector is not an easy one.

"We also do not have time on our side. We need to redouble our efforts to make things happen faster and better."

Dr Apraku asked the participants to be non-partisan and objective to derive the maximum benefit from the workshop.

He said government is committed to globalisation and trade liberalization although they subject local industry to extreme competitive pressures on the domestic and international markets.

"It is unproductive therefore to resist these trends which open new opportunities ... What we need to do is to position ourselves to take advantage of the tremendous potentials they offer and to continue work together as developing countries ... to bring about change in the rules in our favour.

"Our strength is to speak with one voice. We have tried it and it is working. All we need to do is intensify the process," Dr Apraku added.

The Association of Ghana Industries urged government to give practical meaning to the promise of making Ghana the leading agro-business country in Africa by ensuring the policy is clear on this.

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