The Nana Akufo-Addo government will continue to do all in its power to provide a conducive environment for industry to grow and for the establishment of new companies.
Vice President Dr MahamuduBawumia, who gave the assurance during an unannounced visit to the Tema Free Zone Enclave on Tuesday, said Government is particularly interested in encouraging value addition, as this would likely provide more product lines thereby creating jobs and growing the economy.
During a tour of two cocoa processing companies, Barry Callebaut and Niche Cocoa Industries Limited, the Vice President explained that he was there to understand the challenges they face in order to address the bottlenecks hampering the operations of companies in the Free Zone enclave.
“I am happy to see that these companies are almost entirely run by Ghanaians or have a significant Ghanaian representation. I am happy to see Ghanaian men and women doing an earnest job to earn a living. But we want to see more value addition. There are so many jobs we can create with value addition” the Vice President indicated.
“I also came here to get a better understanding of the sort of challenges you have, because we are not satisfied with the level of processing of cocoa for example in Ghana. “Nana Akufo-Addo has charged the country, that we should process and value to our raw materials, and not just export the raw materials. We want to see much greater volumes being processed, which means more exports and more jobs.
“So we wanted to see the challenges that Barry Callebaut and others are having, and find ways to help them.”
Taking the Vice President round Mrs Charity A. Sackitey, Managing Director of Barry Callebaut, indicated that the factory, which runs 24 hours seven days a week, pays a higher tariff than the figure announced by the Electricity Company of Ghana.
Mrs Sackitey also appealed for a discount from the Ghana Cocoa Board for the main cocoa crop season, arguing that such a discount would help the company almost double production and create more jobs. The company receives a discount for the light crop but no subsidy for the main crop, and this has limited their ability to expand as much as they would wish to, she explained.
The Managing Director of Niche Cocoa Industry Limited, Mr Edmund Poku, appealed for greater financial support for companies in the cocoa processing industry to help them buy more beans for processing and expansion.
The Vice President promised to look into their concerns and engage the appropriate stakeholders for a speedy solution.
Barry Callebaut was the first company to move into the Tema Free Zones enclave in 2001, and has grown steadily over the years. It is headquartered in Switzerland, but
Niche Cocoa industry Ltd is a wholly Ghanaian owned cocoa processing company. Established in May 2011, it recently doubled its capacity from 30,000 to 60,000 metric tonnes a year, making it one of the largest cocoa processing companies in Ghana.