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25.07.2005 Business & Finance

AGI launches National Quality Awards


Accra, July 25, GNA - In a bid to promote competition and encourage local companies to meet international quality standards, the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on Monday launched its first National Quality Award Scheme to reward deserving manufacturing and industry related service companies, whose products meet world quality standards.

The award, being supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), is to be held in October on the theme: "Ethics, Leadership and Competitiveness for Quality Standards in Ghana." It is premised on AGI's vision of carrying out proactive services for the industrial sector to contribute substantially to the growth and development of industry in Ghana.

Companies would be assessed on their ability to sustain operations, capability to satisfy requirements for social responsibility and good corporate practice, among other things.

Mr Kofi Osei-Ameyaw, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, who performed the launch, said the institution of the award scheme was a demonstration of AGI's readiness to support various initiatives of the Government to enhance industrialization and trade.

"I also see it as a bold attempt to set standards, build confidence and prepare industry for effective competition both externally and locally."

Mr Osei-Ameyaw asked the stakeholders to guarantee the credibility of the awards to serve as a motivating factor for others to set quality standards, saying that any award scheme that lacked credibility could not achieve its objective.

The Deputy Minister expressed the hope that the standard measure, which is based on internationally acclaimed standards and practice, would not be used for trade protection but rather as a tool to encourage firms that passed the series of tests to venture into the global market. Prince Kofi Kludjeson, President of AGI, said with rapid technological advancement, Ghanaian industries had no choice than to develop appropriate strategies to be able to stay in the competitive business environment.

"A key strategy for staying competitive is producing high quality products and services, which require strategic thinking, developing good marketing system and employing modern information technology strategies," he said.

Mr Kludjeson said the award scheme would place special emphasis on the promotion of small and medium scale enterprises.

Mr Lawrence Yankey, Executive Director GSB, said a draft criteria for the award scheme prepared by a technical committee of competent persons would be ready for public comments by the end of September. He said a way to encourage companies to embrace standardization and build quality into their processes and production methods was to regularly give awards to deserving organizations.

Mr Yankey said it was the hope of the organization that an Act of Parliament would be passed to back the award scheme, which primarily aimed at quality improvement for competitive advantage in the global economy rather than being a vehicle for mere presentations.